Last updated: 07:08 AM ET, Tue November 19 2013

MSC Cruises Sets Countdown to MSC Divina Arrival in Miami Homeport

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship MSC Cruises James Shillinglaw June 23, 2013

MSC Cruises Sets Countdown to MSC Divina Arrival in Miami Homeport

MSC Cruises, at CLIA’s ninth annual cruise3sixty in Vancouver, kicked off the countdown to the arrival of MSC Divina in PortMiami. The 3,502-passenger ship will be based in Miami year-round starting in November, a first for the Italian owned line, which until now has mostly offered Mediterranean sailings with a few Caribbean cruises for the U.S. market.

Ken Muskat, MSC Cruises’ senior vice president-sales and marketing, who took his post just three weeks ago after serving in executive positions with Royal Caribbean, made the announcement and also unveiled plans for a new onboard dining venue, a new water spin class onboard and a special offer for the first MSC vessel to sail year-round from North America.

First, MSC Cruises has joined with Eataly, the Turin-based food chain and epicurean emporium, which features celebrity chefs like Mario Batali and Lidia Matticchio, to launch two restaurants and a marketplace onboard MSC Divina. The decision to partner with Eataly was made after its successful launch onboard Divina’s recently christened sister ship MSC Preziosa. MSC Divina will now feature two new dining venues: the upscale Ristorante Italia and regional steakhouse Manzo, fashioned after the famed restaurant in Eataly's Manhattan location.

A boutique Eataly marketplace also will be available onboard where guests can purchase authentic Italian and artisan products. Eataly is already in the process of expanding in North America, where it has one location in Manhattan and another opening this fall in Chicago.

Also onboard MSC Divina, guests can enjoy a variety of healthy choices tailored for every meal under a new program that offers a range of light options (such as soups, salads, grilled chicken and fish, steamed vegetables and egg white omelets), vegetarian selections (curries, pastas and special vegetarian dishes) and whole grain breads. In addition, MSC has introduced “Deliciously Healthy Menus” for dinner, featuring a selection of nutritionally balanced dishes all listed with caloric values. Gluten-free dishes are also offered in main dining rooms.

MSC also has introduced "Five Colors of Well-Being,” creating synergies between the nutritious drinks and spa treatments offered at the MSC Aurea Spa & Bar with nutritional selections found in the Wellness Corner of the buffet. The "Five Colors of Well-Being" are blue/violet (cleansing), green (relaxing), red (anti-aging), white (purity) and yellow/orange (beautiful skin). Guests can now choose spa treatments, nutritious drinks and healthy foods based on their area of focus as outlined by the Five Colors of Well-Being menu.

Beyond these new dining options, MSC Cruises has partnered with Aqua Cycling by Hydrorider to offer water spinning classes onboard MSC Divina. Hydrorider, whose products are made in Italy, provides aquatic cycles made of marine industry stainless steel that can be placed in pools for classes and training. For a minimal fee, guests can participate in classes led by fitness professionals who have been trained in the benefits of cycling under water.

MSC Divina guests will also have access to a number of new entertainment options as part of daytime and nighttime activities and entertainment. Each sailing will feature production shows with a cast of 30 dancers, singers, musicians and visual acts as well as headline entertainment specially tailored to the itinerary and guest nationality. On the Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings, island bands will be featured onboard with local cultural shows offered pier-side on certain days. Those interested in dance will be paired up with one of MSC's professional dancers to enter competitions.

MSC Divina also will feature "Italian Days" dedicated to the music, dance, cuisine and folklore of the region, including Italian themed dinners, theater shows, music, language lessons, dance lessons and the art of pizza making. The ship will offer new activities for teens including Teen's White Party, MSC Flashmob and Hey Mr. DJ Hip-Hop while mini and junior club guests will enjoy activities such as Kids Bingo, Fairytales Time and live talent shows.

For the first-time in the Caribbean, MSC guests can access Top 18, a new adults-only premium deck space offering stunning sea views. Available for a nominal daily fee on Fantasia-class ships beginning summer 2013, Top 18 features dedicated spa services, bar menu and a lounge setting. Guests of Top 18 are greeted by an attendant with a refreshing chilled towel and escorted to their own personal lounge bed or relaxation pod. Misters and complimentary fruit skewers will be provided while guests can take advantage of specially tailored on-deck spa treatments in Top 18's personal lounge beds.  These include exclusive reflexology and facial treatments, as well as various head, neck and shoulder massages.

MSC Divina also will be the first MSC ship to offer the luxury MSC Yacht Club in North America. This “ship-within-a-ship” concept features 69 suites complete with a personal butler, 24-hour concierge service, and complimentary wines and spirits available any time of the day. MSC Yacht Club provides several private venues, including Le Muse panoramic restaurant, Top Sail Lounge, a pool and relaxation area, and private access to the MSC Aurea Spa.

As part of the countdown to MSC Divina's arrival in Miami, guests who book between June 24 and July 8, 2013 for sailings from April 12 to October 11, 2014, will receive up to a $200 per stateroom onboard credit, which can be used in the new Eataly restaurants, the Aqua Cycling classes or other onboard purchases. Bookings made in Suites or the MSC Yacht Club will include a $200 per stateroom onboard credit and those in a Balcony suite will get a $100 onboard credit based on double occupancy. 

James Shillinglaw