Caribbean cruise aboard the MSC Divina: St. Martin

Posh shopping nesrby
Posh shopping nearby

ABOARD MSC DIVINA: The crowds gathered around the stairwells awaiting the announcement of arrival in Phillipsburg, the capital of Dutch St. Martin, have gathered early. Eager to head to beaches, to shop or tour, they all want to be first off the ship.

It is the same in Barcelona, in Monaco, Ketchikan or Singapore, and whether it is your first or 50th, that rush to disembark for a few hours is pretty universal.

The choice of excursions included an island tour, a visit to a butterfly farm and to Marigot, capital of the French side, a panoramic tour, several chances to get up close and personal to the beautiful waters off both sides of the island, and a motorcycle ride through the Dutch and French sides.

And some just shopped for watches or jewelry or fragrance. Me? I stayed aboard the MSC Divina.

I spent the last seven months recovering from a broken leg and ankle and slowly worked up the nerve to descend the ladder and enjoy the almost-empty pool. It was my first time in a pool since my accident last December and it was impossibly hedonistic. I thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Sailaways are always fun and the colorful waters of the Caribbean make it especially festive.

And the multiple bars and lounges scattered throughout the beautiful ship make it even more so.

My favorite was the Golden Jazz Bar where students at Boston’s Berklee School of Music practice what they’ve learned. They are good. The room is delightful with its golden hues and it is a comfy place for before or after dinner drinks and is near the outstandingly designed Pantheon Theater where nightly production numbers take place.

Other popular bars include the Silver Lounge and the Black & While Lounge. Widespread use of marble (Italian marble, it is an Italian vessel, after all,) and soft upholstery and carpets throughout are conducive to relaxation and that’s really what it is all about.

The 140,000-ton ship debuted in 2012. While MSC has been a seasonal visitor to South Florida ports for the last 10 years, but this year has sailed year-round from PortMiami. Next year MSC Divina will be joined by the new MSC Seaside set to debut late in 2017 and two vessels will alternate Western and Eastern Caribbean itineraries.

August 2, 2016

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