MSC Cruises has announced its lineup of winter 2017 and 2018 cruises, including the debut of two new next-generation cruise ships coming into service in 2017. MSC Meraviglia, arriving in June 2017, will spend the winter in the Mediterranean, and MSC Seaside, arriving in December 2017, will homeport in Miami sailing the Caribbean. Beyond the expansion in MSC Cruises’ fleet, travelers will also benefit from more ships deployed from the Caribbean and South America as well as exciting itineraries departing from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the cruise line said.
With several ships serving the Caribbean — including two ships departing from Miami and one from Fort de France, Martinique and Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe — there will be nearly 50 departures to choose from during the season, MSC said.
New for 2017/18: MSC Seaside will be christened in Miami in December 2017 and will offer a beach condo design aimed at connecting guests to the sea with a 360o outdoor promenade, two glass-floor catwalks extending off the side of the ship, and glass elevators with a panoramic ocean view. MSC Seaside offers two different itineraries. The first itinerary, visiting the eastern Caribbean, includes calls at San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Nassau in the Bahamas. The second itinerary, visiting the western Caribbean, includes destinations such as Ocho Rios in Jamaica; George Town in the Cayman Islands; and Cozumel in Mexico.
New for 2017/18: MSC Fantasia will introduce seven- or 14-night cruises in the southern Caribbean from Martinique or Guadeloupe. With the debut of a Fantasia class ship in these regions, guests can enjoy the MSC Yacht Club ship-within-a-ship area. New ports of call on these itineraries include Kingstown, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines.
Notable shore excursions include a swim with stingrays in St John’s or a visit to “The Baths” at Virgin Gorda, a famous geological formation consisting of huge, sea-sculpted granite boulders that line the beach and form tidal pools, tunnels, caves, arches and scenic grottoes.
MSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises’ new flagship, will launch in June 2017, sailing the Mediterranean for its inaugural season. The ship will offer seven-night western Mediterranean cruises until April 2018. Guests can discover the famous Vatican Museum; explore Barcelona and Montserrat with a tour that ends with a regional wine tasting; tour the colorful hillsides of Palermo; or visit the port of Valetta in Malta.
Onboard activities will range from watching one of a kind exclusive Cirque de Soleil at Sea shows to enjoying cocktails and light bites in one of the many bars or restaurants, or indulging in a Balinese spa.
New for 2017/18: MSC Orchestra will also be offering a brand new series of 10-, 11- and 12-night sailings with four ports of embarkation including Genoa, Marseille, Barcelona and Civitavecchia. Guests can choose between a new 10-night itinerary in the heart of the Mediterranean with one day at sea or an 11-night itinerary to Greece stopping in Corfu, Katakolon and Heraklion in Crete, with two days at sea. Each port will have full day stays. Also new for the season is a 12-night itinerary calling at destinations including Madeira, the Canary Islands, and Morocco.
New for 2017/18: MSC Cruises will introduce a number of shore excursions designed for food lovers. Guests can discover Naples’ best-kept secrets in the historical quarter, including baking handmade pizza on the cities subterranean geothermal rock. In Barcelona, guests can enjoy a unique gastronomic experience in the first and only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to Iberian ham.
South America Highlights
MSC Cruises will have four ships based in South America for the winter season. MSC Preziosa and MSC Magnifica will offer cruises of up to seven nights from Santos/São Paulo, Brazil; MSC Poesia will offer longer eight and nine-night cruises from Buenos Aires, Argentina; and MSC Musica will offer a range of cruises from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Alongside these embarkation ports, itineraries also include stops at destinations including Salvador and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Ilhabela and Ilha Grande islands, and Punta del Este and Montevideo in Uruguay. Throughout the season, guests have the choice of more than 70 departures with itineraries varying in length from seven to nine nights.
Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas
MSC Cruises will continue to offer its popular United Arab Emirates cruises with two embarkation ports: Dubai and Abu Dhabi. MSC Splendida, new to the region, will offer guests the MSC Yacht Club and other modern amenities.
All itineraries will include a call at Sir Bani Yas Island beach oasis, offering 387,500 sq. ft. of beaches and access to a safari reserve, all exclusive to MSC Cruises’ guests on the day that the ship calls. Alongside this destination, itineraries will also include stops at Muscat, Oman; Khor al Fakkan; Doha, Qatar; and Bahrain.