I’m not trying to keep up a blog on this trip, but some comments about it may be helpful to folks considering enrichment posts.
First, there have been a few hiccups – and not minor ones. They stem from this being the first normal sailing since its arrival in North America. They weren’t remedied as quickly as they should have been, which has affected me – but I am convinced that they won’t be repeated so future presenters shouldn’t have to worry about them. Example: they assigned me the second seating (which I prefer anyway) but then scheduled activities for me DURING THAT SEATING. Just a silly mistake but they took way too long to fix it and I missed a couple of dinners over it. Now folks who know me might say that I can afford to miss a few dinners – but folks who know me well know that I especially enjoy shipboard dining rooms. In all these years I have never before missed a dinner seating so it mattered to me.
Comments on speaking specifically on the Divina:
Internet access is provided at crew rate. That is unusual and if you use the internet much it is a big savings (it knocked $100 off my bill).
Most presentations are in the main showroom. This can be intimidating but don’t let it throw you. The good news is that they delivered a reasonably good audience, which helps. You can feel a bit silly standing on stage and looking at an empty 1500 seat house.
One talk was in a lounge – but a pretty big lounge. Not nearly so crowded as smaller lounges I’ve been in on other ships.
Divina staff prefer to use their own A/V hardware (even in the lounge) so just hand them a thumb drive with your Powerpoint slides. They’ll hand you a remote with laser pointer just like the one I use with my laptop. In the lounges it is red and in the main showroom it is green (better for the large screen).
You’ll end up with more working time scheduled than on other ships because of the scheduled stargazing activities. I do them informally on every trip anyway, and this is better because they announce it (which provides a larger audience) and turn off local lights.
The spot they selected for stargazing is very good, but access to it isn’t obvious and I think a lot of folks didn’t find it. I’ll suggest that they provide a map to hand out.
Access to cruise director staff is better than I have ever experienced on other ships. Usually I meet with them the first day, hand them a topic list so they can publish them in the paper, and then if I’m lucky I’ll meet again on the last evening to talk about how things went. On Divina I speak to the assistant cruise director multiple times every day.
Unlike every other ship I’ve been on, they don’t publish the topic titles in the activities list for each day. I guess that means I can shuffle things around if I want to, but it doesn’t permit the passengers to decide whether a day’s topic is of particular interest to them until they arrive. I suspect this will change on future trips; I certainly plan to suggest it.
If you have cruised with the American cruise lines you will find subtle differences on the Italian-owned ships. The buffet is much smaller and has much less variety available. The same is true of the room service menu – there is a delivery charge added after 11:00pm. Sandwiches are free (as on American ships) but there is a charge for room service coffee except at breakfast time. The dining vroom, on the other hand, has a very familiar feel (cruise ship dining room fare tends to be European anyway).
p.s. I see that linking this to facebook has caused the comment spammers to bump their game up a notch or two; my quantity of spam attempts is way up. My blocker catches it all (so far) but as a backup I am approving comments individually for anyone who hasn’t previously posted a legitimate comment. This will cause a delay because I’m only on the Net sporadically while traveling – but I’ll get to it so don’t hesitate.