7 Things I Loved About My 11-Night MSC Cruise

Recently, I was a guest of MSC Cruises on the MSC Divina for a work trip unrelated to Frugal Travel Guy. I was excited about the trip even though we’re not really cruise people, but mostly I was anxious. We have only been on one cruise before – a quick weekend cruise out of Port Canaveral with Carnival. I knew this cruise would be different, and at 11 nights, pretty long.

Our itinerary would take us from Miami to six different stops in the Caribbean – St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, Curacao, Aruba, and Grenada. We were going to have a balcony cabin so we could bring our kids along, and I was excited about that.

While I initially felt some trepidation regarding some of the aspects of our cruise, I was pleasantly surprised by almost every aspect of our trip on the MSC Divina. The ship is amazing, and we had one heck of a time. My kids have also said it was their favorite vacation of all time, which I believe wholeheartedly.

If you’re considering a cruise on the MSC Divina, here are some of the things I loved that you can look forward to:

The Kid’s Club Is Amazing

Like most major cruise lines, MSC Cruises offers a club for kids and teens. This particular club was fantastic, as they involved the kids in all kinds of activities. It was not just babysitting, either. My kids learned a lot of new things and had a blast.

Some of the activities they participated in included a talent show, dance classes, language classes, arts and crafts, and even kid karaoke. My kids (ages 6 and 8) asked to go to the club every day. We actually had to tell them “no” so we could spend time with them.

The Food Is Better Than All-Inclusive

I thought the food on the MSC Divina was really good and better than most all-inclusive resorts I’ve stayed at. Since it’s a Mediterranean cruise line, you could find all kinds of good options ranging from fresh produce to salads, seafood, and different cheeses every day.

They also had a lot of vegetarian ethnic food, which I enjoyed. They had really tasty Indian dishes on the buffet every day, and I appreciated that. If you’re a meat-eater though, there is plenty including a carving station, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and other dishes. Also, the pizza on the buffet was out of this world.

The Main Dining Rooms Are Pretty Fancy

We ate at the buffet for all dinnertime meals but two, but they have a few very fancy dining rooms you can dine in early or late. We had an early seating, so we got lazy and just ate at the buffet most of the time. And when we had a port day, we never had time to make it to dinner by our seating time at 6:00 p.m. When we did go to the dining room, the food and atmosphere was great.

The Ship Has Several Big Pools and Tons of Hot Tubs

On our last Carnival cruise, the whole ship had one pool that was usually filled with boozy bachelor’s party groups and people doing body shots. I swear! On the MSC Divina, the environment was much more family-friendly. The ship also has three pools and 6 or 7 hot tubs. They were never overcrowded and we could always find a place to sit, too.

Nonstop Frozen Yogurt

This is a very small touch, but we still enjoyed it. The ship had frozen yogurt stands set up on the pool deck every day and you could get all you wanted. One night I was a bad parent and let my kids eat 4 cones each. It was nice to have ice cream for the kids on the pool deck because that meant nobody had to get dressed to take them to the restaurant for a treat.

Drinks Were Cheap

We mostly drink beer, and beers cost between $5 and $5.75 on the ship. Mixed drinks were in the $7 – $8 range. I think that’s pretty fair considering drinks at many local restaurants in my area cost more than that.

Getting Off and On the Ship Was A Breeze

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly we got off and on the ship. They have it down to a science for sure, and it was an easy process from beginning to end. When we got off at our various ports, we typically walked right off the ship and right back on with no stops other than a quick security check.

The Bottom Line

We had such a good time on this cruise that I am thinking of booking the same ship for a Christmas cruise later this year. If I do, we’ll take the MSC Divina to different ports for 10 nights over the Christmas holiday. It’s a little more expensive over the holidays, but I have always wanted to be on vacation over Christmas and I think my kids are finally old enough.

The good news about the MSC Divina is that, outside of the holidays, it’s dirt cheap. Normal prices for an eleven-night cruise start at around $839 per person and kids under 11 are free. MSC also has the new MSC Seaside, which lets kids cruise free and has cabins starting at $439 per person.

Don’t forget that you can pay for cruises with flexible rewards cards like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard and Capital One Venture Card as well. Free is always better than cheap. Flexible travel credit makes paying for cruises an easy task.

Get more information about this card and other travel rewards cards here.

Have you been on this ship? What did you like about it?

[Image: Pixabay]

Holly Johnson is a financial expert and award-winning writer whose obsession with frugality, budgeting, and travel plays a central role in her work. In addition to serving as Contributing Editor for The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for inspiring…
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30,000

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JetBlue Purchases

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Restaurants Purchases

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The JetBlue Plus Card

  • Annual Fee: $99 fee waived for the first year
  • Foreign Fees: 0%
  • Card Type: Travel
FTG Review Reward Breakdown Points Breakdown
  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 6 points per $1 on JetBlue purchases, 2 points per $1 at restaurants and grocery stores and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • No blackout dates on JetBlue-operated flights & redeem for any seat, any time on JetBlue-operated flights. Points required for an Award Flight will vary based on the published base fare at the time of booking
  • Points awarded in your TrueBlue account don’t expire.
  • Earn and share points together with Family Pooling
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases like cocktails and food & the primary cardmember’s first checked bag is free on JetBlue-operated flights
  • Enjoy TrueBlue Mosaic benefits for one year after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases each calendar year with your card
  • Enjoy a $100 statement credit after purchasing a JetBlue Vacations package of $100 or more with your JetBlue Plus Card
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Breakdown

Earn (pt.)

Spend


3 months

30,000

$1,000


JetBlue Purchases

6.00

$1


Restaurants Purchases

2.00

$1


Groceries Purchases

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