MSC Cruises delayed the restart of MSC Magnifica, its second ship expected to sail in Europe, to October 19. The line said it will now offer an "enriched" 10-night itinerary for the ship when it returns to sea, and it will also operate an eight-night Christmas cruise departing from Genoa, Italy on December 18.
The 10-night cruises will operate roundtrip from Genoa to both the eastern and western Mediterranean. Calls will include Livorno (Florence/Pisa); Messina, Sicily; Valletta, Malta; Piraeus for Athens and Katakolon for Olympia in Greece; and Civitavecchia (Rome).
With the itinerary shifts, MSC Magnifica’s four previously announced seven-night cruises from Bari, Italy between September 26 and October 24, 2020 have been cancelled.
Separately, the line also extended MSC Grandiosa's schedule through year's end. That ship has been successfully sailing in Europe since August.
New MSC Magnifica Cruises
MSC Magnifica's new 10-night itinerary is designed for guests who prefer longer voyages with more destinations and more time at sea.
In its press release, MSC also said: "The longer sailing is also expected to appeal to guests flying from Schengen countries because of strong pan-European air links to both Rome and Genoa which are, together with Messina, two of the ship’s three embarkation ports. Additionally, ‘proximity cruising’ is proving to be popular with MSC Cruises’ guests who live both in Italy and in neighboring countries."
The line also said these longer cruises appeal to guests who typically cruise during fall and winter, as they often have more time available and are looking for a longer alternative to the seven-night cruises already available on MSC Grandiosa.
Following the completion of her schedule of updated sailings, MSC Magnifica is slated to operate MSC Cruises’ 2021 World Cruise.
MSC Grandiosa's Schedule Extended
In addition, the cruise line extended MSC Grandiosa’s current seven-night sailings through the end of 2020. That includes a Christmas cruise from Genoa on December 20. The ship's week-long cruises embark in the Italian ports of Genoa, Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples and Palermo, plus the ship also calls at Valletta, Malta.
In talking about safe sailing in this COVID-19 era, the line said: "Feedback from the thousands of guests who have so far sailed on MSC Grandiosa has been extremely positive, with many calling their experience one of the safest vacation options available as well as praising MSC Cruises’ willingness to go above and beyond the guidelines set forth by national as well as regional authorities."
All MSC vessels returning to sea will operate under MSC Cruises' new health and safety protocols including protected excursions; no guests are permitted to leave the ship except on the line's own excursions.
The line also said that "in the U.S., MSC Cruises will only restart operations when the time is right, following approval by the CDC and other relevant authorities across the region."