Thursday, November 27, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Cruising the Caribbean, Italian style

By
From page B10 | July 05, 2014 |

Cruising Italian style took a giant leap in my eyes in May as I experience the MSC Divina; now deployed year-round from the port of Miami.

I sailed another Italian line several years ago and was quite disappointed. The food quality was poor and I discovered at one port day pallets of dehydrated ravioli, pre-baked bread and other packaged foods being loaded on the ship. The other line’s staff seemed not too interested in customer service and multi-language announcements were blaring all the time.

But my Divina journey soared compared to the other. Every meal was fresh, tasty and well presented. The decor was pleasing to the eye and the staff much friendlier.

The Divina is the 11th cruise ship of MSC Cruises, a subsidiary of the giant MSC shipping empire. The ship launched in 2012 after the christening by godmother Sophia Loren. Like her godmother, this Mediterranean-style vessel exudes elegance. One of her most dazzling features is the grand entrance bejeweled with two dramatic Swarovski crystal staircases.

Loren personally designed the Sophia Loren Suite featured in the MSC Yacht Club class. MSC calls this class “an oasis of tranquility with its own concierge reception and impeccable butler service, creating a unique private club.”

Starting price in this category is considerably less than other cruise lines, making it an affordable luxury. Additional amenities include complimentary wines and spirits, an exclusive restaurant, bar lounge and dedicated pool services at a starting price of $1,749 per person on seven-night sailings, depending on destination and sailing date.

The ship’s standard accommodations (interior, ocean view and balcony) are also competitively priced with a range of $399 to $699 per person for seven-night cruises. Children 11 and under sail free and 12- to 17-year-olds have a special reduced rate when sailing as third and fourth passengers in a stateroom.

Children’s programs and activities are free of charge and organized into four age groups. Another neat service is the 3- to 6-years-olds can stay in the Mini-Club on port days so parents and older children can enjoy shore excursions. The children’s play area includes a swimming pool with waterslide and an aqua park featuring 150 illuminated musical fountains.

There are a few differences in sailing Italian-style aboard the Divina.

First, the announcements are done in five languages but aren’t very intrusive to staterooms. Europeans go for less frills than the North American market so some services that are traditionally free on other cruise lines have a fee.

For example, room service is from $3.50 to $11.50 depending on menu choice. If you have a designated dining time, you better get to your assigned restaurant within 15 minutes of your scheduled time – otherwise the doors are closed. Also, passengers vary greatly in ethnicity, culture and traditions, making for a very cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Nightly shows in the 1,700-seat grand theater were fantastic. Entertainment had a definite international favor and was reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil. Daytime activities were not as numerous as some other cruise lines as Europeans are more into laid-back relaxation and shore time rather than games and contests. But there was enough to keep passengers busy while on-board with amenities such as: a 4-D cinema, Formula 1 simulators, bowling and sporting activities.

The Divina is chartered until mid-July, providing floating accommodations for the FIFA World Cup. When returning to Miami, she’ll sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, except for a short stint in Europe, April through October 2015. Given pricing, accommodations and programs, this is a great ship for family and multigenerational vacations.

So, if you desire a wonderful cruise experience at reasonable prices, check out the MSC Divina. For a tour of this “grand lady” see the video online at http://youtu.be/wtfWaNP3HsM.

For additional savings and shipboard credit, contact your personal travel professional now to take advantage of current offers. In the meantime – Happy Travels!

 Rose Alston is a certified travel and master cruise counselor. She operates a business in Fairfield and can be reached at rose@rosealston.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Middle Green Valley plan moves forward

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 6 Comments

 
Veterans ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New focus on achievement gap of black males

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Vacaville art gallery schedules open house

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

What’s the matter with Kansas Street?

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 12 Comments | Gallery

 
Sandbags available in advance of storms

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Governments shut doors for holiday

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun police log: Nov. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Weather for Nov. 27, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Passengers in Russia’s Arctic give airliner a push

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Court: No warrant needed to draw parolees’ blood

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Armored vehicle nixed by Davis ends up in Woodland

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Union focuses on security guards at Apple

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Homeless man beaten to death in San Francisco

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Obama administration sets stricter smog standard

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Obama gets the bill for White House Thanksgiving

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Heart stent for Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, 81

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Snow makes Thanksgiving travel ‘a little hairy’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
American among hostages targeted in Yemen raid

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Sierra Leone official: Ebola may have reached peak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Hong Kong police arrest key protesters, clear site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Canada police arrest ex-radio host in sex case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Impoverished Lebanese city is target for IS group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Spy balloons give police new view of Jerusalem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Small crowd protests in Oakland for third night

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Ferguson residents clean up, hope for calm night

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Prosecutor faces new criticism over Ferguson case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Grand jury documents rife with inconsistencies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 27, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscope for Nov. 27, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Nursing homes full of opportunities for giving

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
With shake-ups, AC/DC perseveres with album, tour

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

875 hours of holiday programming on TV last year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Missing model-restaurateur B. Smith found in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Garth Brooks cites Ferguson for cancellation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
University in Tennessee cancels Cosby appearance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

Tom Hanks, wife to host Christmas tree lighting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Sports

Panda heads put away with Sandoval’s departure

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
All City football: Vikings sweep top honors

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Seahawks, 49ers meet for 1st time this season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NFL might not flex any Sunday night games in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

San Francisco’s bid for 2024 Olympics taking shape

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks sign emergency backup goalie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Spurs’ Popovich undergoes medical procedure

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
AP source: Tomas in process of deal with D’backs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Harden leads Rockets past Kings 102-89

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Smith to start at QB for Jets vs. Dolphins on MNF

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Butler knocks off No. 5 North Carolina, 74-66

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
RG3 benched: Redskins to start Colt McCoy vs. Indy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Raiders’ Woodson expects to play in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Curry, 3s too much for Magic; Warriors win 111-96

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Atletico Madrid, Arsenal reach knockout phase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Business

FBI data show thousands of gun sales beat checks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
US new home sales up 0.7 percent in October

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

US agency threatens to act against air bag maker

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Twitter now tracks other apps you’ve installed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Health insurance sign-ups coming to shopping malls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Obituaries

Dora Maria Aranda

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Adrian Looy

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
.

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Why millennials prefer electronic gift cards

By The Washington Post | From Page: HGG2

How to give holiday gift cards

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG2

How to establish gift spending limits

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG3

Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG3

Novice crafter? There’s a project for that!

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG6

Gift ideas for the special seniors in your life

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG6

Time and money-saving holiday gift ideas

By Statepoint Media | From Page: HGG7

Oy vey, holidays! Does Hanukkah wannabe Christmas?

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG7

How to save on high-tech gifts

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG10

Shop top finalists for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG11

Sharing music: a personal gift made easy by tech

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG12

Great gifts for music lovers

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG13

Kitchen gift-giving made easy with personality profiles

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG14

Great gifts for the family foodie

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG14

Holiday shows abound in Solano County

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: HGG17

Great gifts for people who love to read

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG19

An oft-elusive yet gifty treat: coffee table books

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG19

Steps to take before giving pets as gifts

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

2014 holiday toy predictions

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

Eco-friendly gift ideas for ‘green’ giving

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

Things to consider before buying this holiday season

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG22

Trend-setting gifts for the women on your holiday shopping list

By Brandpoint Content | From Page: HGG23

Gifts to keep kids engaged

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG25

Gift wrap tricks to save time

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG26

Save time and energy with a family gift this holiday season

By Brandpoint Content | From Page: HGG27

Gift exchange dos and don’ts

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG30

Right at Home: gifts you can use – and use up

By The Associated Press | From Page: HGG30

How to send gifts to faraway friends and family

By Metro Creative Graphics | From Page: HGG30