“After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery.”
Langston Hughes writes in Mother to Son that “Life was not a crystal stair.” Had he lived today that could all change aboard a cruise on the 11th ship in the family-owned MSC fleet, the Divina. In a ship filled with elegant spaces, both private and public, your initial view of the Atrium’s two matched, gently curving staircases, each individual step is a stunning masterwork of hundreds of Swarovski crystals.
MSC began life as the Mediterranean Shipping Company, one of the largest container companies in the world. Today it continues to operate as an international container company with the addition of MSC Cruises in the 1960s. The family-owned company’s cruise division is dedicated to providing an experience that highlights the Mediterranean lifestyle and exceeds the expectations of individuals, couples and families.
One of the world’s most legendary actors and longest lasting divas, Sophia Loren, christened the MSC Divina on May 28, 2013 and was honored as the “Godmother of the Fleet”. The ship has 322,900-sq. ft. of public space featuring the Casino Veneziano, Aurea Spa, five pools, bowling alley, 4D movie, Formula One Racing Car Experience, large-scale shows, 18 bars, seven restaurants, 1,751 staterooms and the Signature MSC Yacht Club, an exclusive ship within a ship. Bureau Veritas made MSC Cruises the first cruise line to be awarded “7 Golden Pearls” for its commitment to maintaining the environment and eco-system. In 2009 they initiated an affiliation with UNICEF, “Get on Board for Children,” that has generated more than $350-milllion in funds for underprivileged urban children.
There are a number of singularly Divina experiences and activities that simply should not be missed. Deck 7’s La Luna Bar offers an outstanding MSC Signature Martini. Eataly Steakhouse and Ristorante Italia, patterned after an award-winning venue in Italy, presents an outstanding gourmet menu and guests can purchase products in an adjacent culinary boutique. Backstage tours, culinary classes and signature Wine Maker Experience are scheduled as well as a tour of the Yacht Club Sophia Loren Royal Suite, designed by the diva herself.
A cruise aboard the MSC Divina is really hassle-free. It requires minimum planning and arrangements, offers a plethora of on-board entertainment, a variety of ports of call and can have a profound economic impact on the visited destinations. The ship’s free state-of-the-art Traveler’s Web App, in all of the company’s six official languages, makes every step of the trip, from booking to onboard activities, easy to access. www.msccruises.com/gl_en/About-MSC-Cruises/News/MSC-Divina-Traveler-Web-App.
Promotions and specials are available online and currently guests can take advantage of MSC’s Wave Season’s 2-FOR-1 PLUS offers. Special pricing includes such options as complimentary beverage package, pre-paid service charges or up to $400 shipboard credit per stateroom. Active and retired military personnel receive a 10 percent discount, children under the age of 11 sail at no cost when traveling with two paying adults in the same stateroom and teens from 12 to 17 sail at a reduced rate.
Sailing aboard the Divina is two vacations for the price of one. The destinations are exciting, but equally interesting is the onboard, tangible, Mediterranean Experience. You have the entire year to plan, you have the tools and I think it’s time you began. www.msccruises.com
The MSC Divina departs from the Port of Miami and a wonderful way to extend your vacation is to take advantage of some of the packages being offered at the Mayfair Hotel & Spa Miami in celebration of its 30th anniversary and that of the iconic television series, “Miami Vice.” The Mayfair, a Coconut Grove Landmark, is honoring the area’s entry into the nation’s cultural consciousness with a year themed “Miami Vices.”
This boutique, Art Nouveau, architectural gem has recently completed a $10-millon renovation that Crockett and Tubbs would heartily approve. Spend some time immersed in 1980’s American glitz and glamour by visiting the rooftop pool and cabanas and indulging in a treatment in the 4,500-sq. ft. Jurlique Australian Spa, a holistic day-spa facility. The hotel is pet-friendly. www.mayfairhotelandspa.com
“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” –Sophia Loren
I wish you enjoyable travels and a smooth New Year!
People love lists and one you need to check out immediately is Philadelphia’s “Best of Foursquare 2013.” The four categories are based on over four billion check-ins. www.foursquare.com/bestof/philadelphia-pennsylvania
Hampton, Virginia has announced their 2014 calendar of events and it is not only filled with the city’s signature events, the Jazz and Pirate Festivals, but also new and unique venues and events.
The calendar is available at www.visithampton.com.