Saturday, May 9, 2015

Exploring MSC Divina on a Thanksgiving Sea Day

My immediate family is small and spread out throughout the country. The Thanksgiving holiday has become less about big family dinners and more about getting together with whomever we can.

In 2013, Mom and I went on a Seabourn cruise Thanksgiving week. For 2014, we decided to repeat the idea and head on the MSC Divina. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

After a couple of days of ports, it was nice to have a sea day. We had hit our first rough patch of sea the previous night and sleeping in was just what I needed.

I went to the Top Sail Lounge, which is only available to those staying in the Yacht Club section on MSC Cruises, for breakfast. They had a great selection and I enjoyed a full plate of berries, Greek yogurt, cheese, and an apricot tart.

I sat back with a cappuccino and enjoyed the view while I caught up on social media and email. Mom had slept even later than me and was relaxing in the cabin, but I had a galley tour to do with the Executive Chef.

Chef Attila had only been on the MSC Divina for three weeks, though he certainly wasn’t new to running a kitchen and had been on this ship when it first sailed. 

He had also spent years in European restaurants after hotel school in Naples and before joining the cruise industry.

I had taken galley tours on ships before, but this was by far the largest I had seen. The kitchen spanned two floors and runs 24 hours a day to take care of 3,795 passengers and 1,294 crew.

He manages to oversee it all since it’s one of the most automated galleys in the world, with a computer program generated on TV screens.

MSC Cruises is very careful about keeping everything separate to avoid any type of contamination, whether for allergies, gluten, or bacteria. He proudly told me that they’ve never had a breakout of food borne illness on a MSC ship.

I watched the pastry chef prepare the pumpkin cheesecake for dinner before saying goodbye to Chef Attila and heading out to explore.

It was a very windy day and I didn’t think there would be much pool time. I first went to check out the kids club.

MSC Cruises has quite an impressive area for kids and teens. The camp runs an array of activities day and night that satisfy all ages. There is a Lego room for younger passengers and Graffiti’s Disco for those a bit older.

Although it is an extra charge, kids – and their parents – seemed to be enjoying the Race Car Formula 1 Simulator and 4D Si-Fi Cinema. A game room was also fully stocked with video games.

I picked Mom up at our suite and we went to lunch at Le Muse, another private dining area for Yacht Club guests.

I had the cold carrot soup, followed by the Cuban sandwich. Both were excellent. Mom enjoyed a Cobb salad.

The waiter heard us talking about heading to the buffet for ice cream and he came back with an ice cream sundae for us, complete with fudge sauce and homemade whip cream!

After we left the restaurant, we went shopping down at the piazza. Mom got some gifts and bought herself a pair of earrings. She also bought me a bag I liked as my early holiday gift.

We took advantage of the lazy, rainy day to take naps before we dressed for dinner back at Le Muse.

I have to confess that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in an Italian restaurant for a Thanksgiving dinner, but they managed to do it well, while still leaving options open for the many Europeans aboard who weren’t celebrating the holiday.

My traditional meal was walnut bread, mushrooms in puff pastry, butternut squash soup, turkey, cranberry sauce, yams, Brussel sprouts, and the pumpkin cheesecake. It was all amazing.

Mom opted to mix the traditional with her favorites, enjoying the bread, a jumbo shrimp cocktail, lobster tail, the Thanksgiving yams and vegetables, and apple pie.

After dinner we went to the Captain’s Cocktail Party in the Black & White Lounge and had some champagne.

I had missed a lot of the shows because I was so tired after long days on shore, but I’m glad I made it to the Michael Jackson show. It was just incredible, rivaling anything I’ve ever seen on Broadway. The audience was standing and cheering by the end, when the whole cast sang “We are the World.”

It didn’t take long to fall asleep as I wished I had more than one more day at sea on the MSC Divina.

Ready for a Thanksgiving cruise on MSC? Book yours now. 

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