New Features and Upgrades Debut Onboard Crown Princess

June 5, 2018.

Princess Cruises guests sailing onboard Crown Princess in the Mediterranean this summer will  be enjoying new onboard offerings after an extensive ten-day dry dock. Completed last month, these enhancements  continue the line’s “Come Back New Promise” campaign focused on investing more than $450 million across the global fleet.  

Crown Princess new and enhanced offerings onboard include:

  • The Salty Dog Grill (formerly Trident Grill) – guests can indulge in a variety of signature Princess burgers grilled up with 100 percent all-beef patties and buns freshly baked onboard, or choose from new Street Tacos made with grilled chipotle-lime chicken or roasted sweet potato-green chile at the new Salty Dog Grill. For a nominal charge, “The Ernesto” burger, from Chef Ernesto Uchimura, voted “#1 Burger at Sea” by Cruise Critic, is also available, where guests can accompany their selections with loaded fries in tempting varieties include chili cheese and bacon & cheese. Classic hot dogs round out the menu offeringsat the new on-deck dining venue.
  • Slice (formerly Prego Pizzeria) – featuring west coast and east coast offerings, Princess guests will enjoy the cruise line’s signature classic Neapolitan-style pizza that has been voted “Best Pizza at Sea” by USA Today. New menu items include Deep Dish Focaccia layered with marinara, meatballs and cheese, California Artisanal Toast including Cali-Avocado or Caprese, as well as Sliced Stromboli, an east coast take on an Italian calzone filled with deli meats and cheese.
  • Coffee & Cones (formerly Sundaes Ice Cream Bar) – offering treats of gourmet ice-cream sandwiches, complimentary ice cream cones and now brewing specialty coffee on the top deck, serving New Grounds Crafted Coffee.
  • The Mix (formerly Mermaid’s Tale) – the poolside bar has been refreshed and the brightly lit surroundings create a festive atmosphere for guests celebrating the day or catching up with friends and family.

Princess Luxury Bed – available in every stateroom aboard Crown Princess, the Princess Luxury Bed was developed by Princess Cruises in collaboration with board-certified sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus and HGTV designer Candice Olson.

Club Class Mini-Suites – Crown Princess offers Club Class Mini-Suites, the new premium stateroom category featuring VIP amenities and exclusive dining. This elevated mini-suite category features select perks including new Club Class Dining, a reserved dining area with expedited seating and expanded menu options, as well as priority embarkation and disembarkation.

Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center – for cruisers ages 3-17, Crown Princess will offer a reimagined youth center – Camp Discovery – created in partnership with Discovery™, as part of the cruise line’s Discovery at SEA program. Catering to specific age groups, kids and teens can make new friends and participate in activities specially designed to help them discover, play, create and huddle. Camp Discovery programs are being delivered onboard while we continue the transformation which will be completed by early summer.

Enhanced Boutiques – guests will enjoy aesthetic enhancements to the Shops of Princess, offering an upgraded shopping experience, such as a branded Effy Fine Jewelry boutique. There will also be new products to choose from featuring a collection of Princess branded athletic wear and logo apparel displayed in a newly designed Logo shop.

Casino – guests ready to take a gamble will take their chances surrounded by new carpet, light fixtures and bar TV screens.

Lotus Spa & Fitness Center – a space where guests can relax and invigorate, salon and treatments rooms have been upgraded and the latest in fitness equipment is now available.

Further general refurbishing and technical updates have also been implemented aboard Crown Princess.

Independence Of The Seas Completes Makeover

May 13, 2018.

Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas arrived today at her new home in Southampton England, featuring a plethora of new experiences and  features after a family-focused multi-million dollar makeover.

Newly dubbed as ‘the ultimate family ship’, Independence has an array of  new features such as the Sky Pad, a new virtual reality bungee trampoline experience, and the interactive aqua park, Splashaway Bay, which is bigger and better than ever before.

The reimagined ship also includes a host of other new features:

  • The Perfect Storm, a duo of racing waterslides called Cyclone and Typhoon.
  • Glow-in-the-dark laser tag, an experience in Studio B unlike any other, where friends and family can team up to play “Battle for Planet Z”.
  • Puzzle Break, a new escape room experience where competitors can put their minds to the test, working together to find hidden clues and solve a series of high-tech riddles to unravel a mystery. With only 60 minutes of play, the excitement builds with each tick of the clock.
  • New lounges and Panoramic Oceanview staterooms. With wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling views looking forward above the bridge.
  • Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, enables sports fans to enjoy all the biggest live sporting events over ice-cold beers, wings, sliders and more.
  • Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, the exotic Asian-inspired dining experience gives guests the chance to enjoy fresh sushi and experience skilled chefs cooking tableside on teppanyaki grills.
  • Fish & Ships, a poolside eatery where guests can grab quintessentially British seaside treats.
  • Sugar Beach candy shop, a wondrous world of delicious delights, along with a few exciting surprises.

Guests will be welcomed onboard for her first new sailing on  May 15, 2018.

Following her inaugural sailing, the ship will call at destinations across Europe and the Mediterranean until November 2018, when it repositions to Fort Lauderdale for the winter season.

Bookings Open For MSC Grandiosa, Launching In November 2019

March 5, 2018.

MSC Grandiosa

MSC Cruises announced today that MSC Grandiosa is now open for bookings. For her inaugural season, the first Meraviglia-Plus class ship will set sail in the Western Mediterranean. Bookings open today for an initial two-week period exclusively for members of the MSC Voyagers Club — MSC Cruises’ guest loyalty rewards program — and bookings for all other guests will open on March 19, 2018.

The new ship will offer guests, among other features, two brand new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea, created exclusively for MSC Grandiosa guests.

MSC Grandiosa will showcase an even larger Mediterranean-style promenade. Serving as the social hub of the ship, the promenade features an array of shops and specialty restaurants as well as a new bar and lounge, L’Atelier Bistrot, which will offer lounge seating with a stage and a dance floor. Impressionist art will also be on display in this space and have “terrace” seating with Parisian Bistrot tables and chairs along the promenade. Throughout the day and the evening, the promenade will host surprise performances, including flash mobs and themed parties as well as  projections on a 323 ft. LED Sky screen.

The industry-leading shipboard digital innovation program, MSC for Me, will allow guests to customize their vacation and enhance their cruise experience. As the Company continues to evolve and innovate the digital offering, guests can expect new features, offering a connected cruise experience to meet their individual needs.

Additional MSC Grandiosa highlights include:

  • Seven nights in the Western Mediterranean: calling at six Mediterranean ports including Genoa, Civitavecchia, Palermo, Valletta, Barcelona and Marseille.
  • New family activities and entertainment: The DOREMI Lab will offer new themes each day, while the DOREMI Studio Lounge focuses on allowing children to have fun through the magic of music, with the chance to record songs and star in their own music videos. This multitude of concepts ensure that children of every age will have an unforgettable vacation at sea.
  • A choice of at least 12 different dining venues on board — ranging from specialty restaurants to the buffet.  In addition a new restaurant concept exclusively for MSC Aurea Experience guests (a booking category) will be introduced in the Promenade of the ship.
  • The MSC Yacht Club, which will continue to offer the more discerning cruise guest a luxurious stay in the ship-within-a-ship concept with private areas and key features such as the Top Sail lounge, One Pool Deck, private restaurant and butler service.

When booking MSC Grandiosa over the initial, exclusive two-week booking period — in addition to benefitting from being able to have the first selection of staterooms — MSC Voyagers Club members will receive a special 5% early booking discount in addition to their current MSC Voyagers Club 5% loyalty discount. All other guests will enjoy a 5% early booking discount until September 4, 2018. MSC Grandiosa will commence sailing from Genoa, Italy on November 16, 2019.

Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam To Sail Northern Europe & Mediterranean In Summer/Fall 2019

February 7, 2018.


Following an inaugural season island-hopping the Caribbean, Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam will cross the Atlantic Ocean in late April 2019 and spend the summer and fall exploring northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

The new Pinnacle Class ship will homeport in Amsterdam for the summer. Offering a collection of 7- and 14-day itineraries to the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltic, Iceland and North Cape.

In September the ship will head to the Mediterranean on a 12-day cruise from Amsterdam to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. Three 10-day cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia will visit the eastern and western Mediterranean. The ship then departs Civitavecchia Oct. 27 for a 14-day cruise back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Nieuw Statendam Showcases Norway in Summer 2019
Once arriving in Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam will cruise 7- and 14-day itineraries. There will be two different seven-day itineraries offering nine departures from May through September.

A longer 14-day Norwegian exploration departs June 9 and July 7, featuring eight ports in Norway while crossing into the Arctic Circle.  Guests also will enjoy scenic cruising in Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord, the North Cape and Sognefjord.

British Isles and Baltic Round Out Nieuw Statendam Europe Highlights
The Baltic awaits Nieuw Statendam guests on two 14-day itineraries in May and August, also sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam. The ship calls at  Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Warnemünde (Berlin) and Kiel (Hamburg), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg (overnight), Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden.

Travelers looking to visit the British Isles and Iceland can embark Nieuw Statendam August 4 for a 14-day cruise to Newcastle upon Tyne, England; South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland, for an overnight permitting guests to attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo if they would like; Reykjavik (overnight), Isafjordur and Akureyri, Iceland; and Ålesund and Bergen, Norway.

Mediterranean Cruises in the Fall Span the Region
In September, Nieuw Statendam sails from Amsterdam to Civitavecchia on a 12-day journey that visits Ireland, Portugal and four ports in Spain. The ship then offers two 10-day cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia to Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and Italy, while another 10-day itinerary visits ports in Spain, Gibraltar, France, Monaco and Italy.

On Oct. 27 the ship repositions to Fort Lauderdale on a 14-day voyage that crosses the Atlantic Ocean following calls at Cartagena, Málaga (Granada) and Cádiz, Spain; and Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Fares for Nieuw Statendam Europe cruises begin at $1,199 per person, double occupancy. Taxes, fees and port expenses are additional.

The Premiere Voyage and Inaugural Caribbean Season
Nieuw Statendam’s Premiere voyage will depart Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, Dec. 5, 2018, for a 14-day transatlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale. The ship will spend the winter, holiday and spring seasons cruising roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on three or four-day Bahamas sailings, seven-day eastern or western Caribbean cruises and one 10-day southern Caribbean itinerary.

Travelers looking to spend more time on board and experience the new ship can choose from 11- to 17-day Collectors’ Voyages that combine back-to-back Caribbean itineraries. All of Nieuw Statendam’s Caribbean cruises feature a call at Holland America Line’s award-winning private Bahamian island, Half Moon Cay.

About Nieuw Statendam
Due for delivery Dec. 1, 2018, Nieuw Statendam currently is under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy. The 2,666-guest, 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. While much of the ship’s design will be similar to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten. The ship will feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-class design: grand, light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Holland America Line’s first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company’s history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for “new” with the classic “Statendam,” Holland America Line celebrates the company’s past, present and future.

Azamara Pursuit Will Offer Unique Mediterranean Voyages in 2019

December 7, 2017.

Our favorite all-inclusive luxury cruise line is Azamara Club Cruises and they have just announced new voyages for their newest ship, the Azamara Pursuit.  Wait to you read about the shore excursions!

Azamara Pursuit was purchased earlier this fall and the brand has been working tirelessly to curate new itineraries to new parts of the world, with longer stays, more overnights and stops in smaller ports.  Given the number of smaller ports in the Mediterranean – ports that only small cruise ships can visit – it is easy to see why Azamara chose to focus on the region for their newest vessel.

In 2019, the Azamara Pursuit will:

  • Visit 74 countries and 276 ports
  • Add 27 ports and 2 countries not offered by other ships in 2019
  • Visit maiden ports in Alghero, Sardinia, Italy; Trieste, Italy; Paula, Croatia
  • Offer Country Intensive Voyages to Greece, Italy, Croatia, Spain, France and Israel
  • Offer 77 late nights and 20 overnights during 176 days in port

Shore Excursions highlights include:

  • Monemvasia, Greece – Cooking Class at Liotrivi Historic Mansion: At Liotrivi Historical Mansion, guests will explore the cultural heritage and enjoy a cooking lesson of 5 traditional dishes under the instruction of an experienced chef set against the backdrop of gardens and olive trees.
  • Portofino, Italy – Rapallo Foodie Experience with Guido: Liguria is home to some of Italy’s most iconic foods and no one is more passionate about ‘pasta, pesto, focaccia & co.’ than local host Guido. Guests meet him at the Musical Kiosk with its fanciful fresco, before continuing on to Rapallo’s vibrant food market to explore the produce and herbs. The tour continues to a nearby artisanal pasta factory, followed by a stop for street food at Guido’s favorite focaccia baker serving the cheesy, decadent treat hot from the iron with a glass of local Vermentino wine. For the final stop, guests follow Guido to his own bottega, a veritable emporium filled with delicacies where guests will have the chance to make pesto alla Genovese.
  • Pula, Croatia – Truffle Hunt: Guests visit the small village of Mala Huba for the special experience of truffle hunting! After the “truffle hunt” experience of almost 60 minutes with a local guide and truffle-sniffing dog, guests return to village of Mala Huba for light repast and wine tasting and the chance to buy truffle products.

Top itineraries include:

  • 5 Night Riviera Weekend Voyage, May 2019: This voyage travels from the heart of the French Riviera to the Eternal City with a late-night stay in Marseilles and Saint-Tropez.
  • 10 Night Greece Intensive Voyage, June 2019: A powerhouse line-up of ancient sites, friendly seaside tavernas and shops and whitewashed villages.
  • 9 Night Italy to Greece Voyage, May 2019: This nine-night sailing showcases the exceptional beauty of the Adriatic and gorgeous Grecian ports with stops for Gondola rides, medieval city tours and a visit to the world’s largest underground canyon.

MSC Cruises Celebrates “Plan A Cruise Month”

September 28, 2017.

Plan a Cruise Month is a campaign by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the voice and leading authority of the global cruise community and takes places every October.

MSC Cruises USA  is celebrating the month by offering travelers 50% savings until October 31 on brochure rates in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Northern Europe and United Arab Emirates, plus bonus perks in the Caribbean like onboard credit, internet and drink packages. And a big bonus for many families – Kids 11 and under sail free on select sailings.

MSC Cruises Two for One Plus Deal For Caribbean

Guests have the chance to enjoy half off  7+ night sailings in the Caribbean between December 2017 and March 2019 on MSC Divina and the hottest new ship to sail the Caribbean, MSC Seaside, arriving to Miami in December 2017. Plus, cruisers can enjoy perks like $50-$150 onboard credit, free WiFi packages and drink packages, depending on category of stateroom booked.

Sample itineraries for sailings on MSC Seaside and MSC Divina include:

  • MSC Seaside: December 23, 2017 – Guests can experience the first 7-night Caribbean sailing of the revolutionary MSC Seaside as she departs for the first time from Miami, Fla with ports of call in St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nassau, Bahamas. Prices start at $958 per person.
  • MSC Seaside: January 27, 2018 – 7-night cruise departing from Miami, Fla with ports of call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Cozumel, Mexico. Prices start at $589 per person.
  • MSC Divina: February 15, 2018 – 11-night cruise departing from Miami, Fla with ports of call in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadaloupe; Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis; Fort de France, Martinique; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Freeport, Grand Bahama. Prices start at $829 per person.

MSC Cruises Two for One Mediterranean, Northern Europe and United Arab Emirates Cruise Deals

Cruisers can save 50% off brochure rates, and reduced deposits of $99 for all Mediterranean, Northern Europe and United Arab Emirates sailings.

Mediterranean:

For those looking to explore the Mediterranean, 50% savings apply to all sailings between November 2017 to November 2018, including MSC Cruises’ newest ships — the sparkling new MSC Meraviglia, which debuted in June 2017, and MSC Seaview, which will debut in June 2018 — as well as MSC Orchestra, MSC Divina, MSC Fantasia, MSC Musica, MSC Opera, MSC Poesia, and MSC Sinfonia.

Sample itineraries for sailings in the Mediterranean include:

  • MSC Meraviglia: January 19, 2018 – 7-night cruise departing from Barcelona, Spain with ports of call in Marseille, France; Genoa, Italy; Civitavecchia, Italy; Palermo, Italy; and Valleta, Malta. Prices start at $439 per person.
  • MSC Seaview: June 17, 2018 – 7-night cruise on MSC Cruises’ newest Seaside-class ship, arriving June 2018, departing from Genoa, Italy with ports of call in Naples, Italy; Messina, Italy; Valleta, Malta; Barcelona, Spain; and Marseille, France. Prices start at $908 per person.

Northern Europe:

Northern Europe sailings from March 2018 through October 2018 are eligible for half off, including MSC Meraviglia, which after sailing her inaugural season in the Mediterranean will be repositioned to Northern Europe for the summer 2018 season. Sailings are also available on board MSC Magnifica, MSC Orchestra and MSC Preziosa.

Sample itineraries for sailings in Northern Europe include:

  • MSC Meraviglia: May 20, 2018 – 11-night cruise departing from Hamburg, Germany with ports of call in Kirkwall, United Kingdom; Akureyri, Iceland; Isafjordur, Iceland; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Invergordon, United Kingdom. Prices start at $1,329 per person.
  • MSC Magnifica: April 23, 2018 – 7-night cruise departing from Southampton, United Kingdom with ports of call in Le Havre, France; Zeebrugge, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Hamburg, Germany. Prices start at $429 per person.

United Arab Emirates:

Cruises to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and MSC Cruises’ newest private destination, Sir Bani Yas Island Beach Oasis, are also reduced by 50% between December 2017 and March 2019 on the magnificent MSC Splendida.

Sample itineraries for sailings in the United Arab Emirates include:

  • MSC Splendida: February 3, 2018 – 7-night cruise departing from Dubai with ports of call in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Sir Bani Yas Island, United Arab Emirates; Muscat, Oman; and Khor al Fakkan, United Arab Emirates. Prices start at $499 per person.
  • MSC Splendida: February 10, 2018 –   7-night cruise departing from Dubai with ports of call in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Sir Bani Yas Island, United Arab Emirates; Bahrain; and Doha, Qatar. Prices start at $499 per person.

For more information on all of MSC Cruises’ Plan a Cruise Month 2 for 1 deals, see here.

 

 

 

MSC Seaview Floated Out

August 23, 2017.

The second ship in MSC Cruises’ innovative Seaside class enters the final phase of construction, ramping up for her inaugural season in the Mediterranean

MSC Cruises today celebrated the float out of MSC Seaview. The ceremony, held at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard in Italy, officially marked the first time that the vessel has touched water since beginning construction.

As the second of MSC Cruises’ Seaside generation of cruise ships, MSC Seaview is based on a highly-innovative prototype — bringing guests closer to the sea than ever before; designed specifically for warmer climates; and providing the ultimate sun and sea cruise experience. The revolutionary ship is set to come into service in June 2018, just six months after her sister ship MSC Seaside debuts and arrives in Miami in December 2017, following a Grand Voyage from Trieste, Italy to Miami, Florida.

MSC Seaview will sail her inaugural 2018 summer season in the Mediterranean, offering travelers dynamic itineraries and the chance to explore a variety of unique destinations, while only having to unpack once. Guests can discover seven lively ports from four different countries, including Genoa, Naples, Messina, Valetta, Barcelona and Marseille. Specific itineraries can be viewed here.

Following her inaugural season, MSC Seaview will follow the sun to Brazil and the Southern hemisphere for the winter 2018-2019 season, with ports of call in Santos, Ilha Grande, Buzios, Porto Belo and Camboriu.

The float out is a key milestone in the construction of a cruise ship, marking the completion of the ship’s exterior. The dry dock is flooded and the vessel meets water for the first time before being moved to a wet dock. Now, in the final phase of construction, work begins to complete the interiors, fixtures and furnishings.

MSC Seaview is the second of two identical ships in the Seaside class — at 1,060 ft. long and 154,000 GRTs — and holding a maximum capacity of 5,179 guests (4,134 at double occupancy).

The launch of MSC Seaview will mark the third next-generation ship from MSC Cruises to come into service in just 12 months, following MSC Meraviglia (June 2017) and, her sister ship, MSC Seaside (December 2017).

MSC Cruises Announces Port Info Service and New Mediterranean Shore Excursions

July 5, 2017.

MSC Cruises today unveiled a comprehensive range of shoreside activities and services for guests. The company has debuted a new Port Info service on board MSC Meraviglia, allowing guests to discover and explore more of each destination through complementary expert advice and information, and has also introduced a variety of new Mediterranean shore excursions.

Barcelona, Spain

NEW Port Info Service

The introduction of the complimentary Port Info service offers guests a one-stop destination support service. Assisting guests in making the most of every itinerary destination, the Port Info desk will offer personal, tailored and expert information on what to see, where to eat, where to visit and how to get there. The desk will also help guests book local transportation such as train tickets, taxis or a car service, as well as assist in creating private tours and experiences. This is an especially invaluable service in countries where guests don’t speak the local language.

MSC Cruises has developed the service through collaboration with local authorities and tourism boards, ensuring guests receive the most accurate and up-to-date information, key local insights and ‘must-see’ attractions. Additionally, Port Info onboard crew members have been personally trained by local experts to be able to offer tailored information and advice from personal experience.

Port Info will also highlight local events, festivals and parades, allowing guests to discover local culture and traditions. Where possible, ship port times will be adjusted to allow enough time for guests to fully experience events and get the very most out of their stay.

The Port Info service debuted on board MSC Meraviglia when the ship launched in June, with plans to extend the service to the entire MSC Cruises fleet.

NEW Mediterranean Shore Excursions

MSC Cruises has added 19 new shore excursions to its already extensive range of tours in the Mediterranean, including five of which are exclusive to MSC Cruises’ guests on board MSC Meraviglia. These excursions have been specially developed for families and food lovers, with something to suit all ages and allow guests to experience destinations on their cruise in new and exciting ways.

Naples, Italy

MSC Meraviglia Exclusive Shore Excursions:

  • Tour Italy’s largest aquarium in Genoa for the perfect family day out. The tour gives guests a behind-the-scenes look at marine laboratories, plankton farming and jellyfish not usually accessible to the public.
  • Relish Messina’s best sights including the magnificent Cristo Re Church, which towers over Messina’s harbor, “Piazza del Duomo,” and its golden Bell Tower, and the nearby Cathedral. Along the way, guests will have a chance to stop off at a number of small bars and restaurants to taste arancine (rice balls) and cannoli, a local pastry roll filled with sweet cream. The day will end with a little tipple of passito, a local sweet liquor wine made from raisins.
  • Experience Italy like a local in Naples, with highlights of the city complemented by coffee, pastry and pizza. Guests will taste the freshest Neapolitan pizza in the San Gregorio Armeno region (known as the “street of the Nativity Scenes”), then stop to taste Scaturchio, the “sweet” of Naples, and the famous sfogliatella, a typical Neapolitan cake, before finishing the day off with an authentic Neapolitan coffee at the Gran Cafè Gambrinus.
  • Savor a gastronomic delight In Barcelona, at the world’s first and only museum dedicated exclusively to Iberian ham where the tour, of course, ends in a tasting session.
  • Enjoy the essence of Malta with local tastes and sights including a coach drive to Vittoriosa, one of the Three Historic Cities. Guests will stroll the narrow streets of the city and step back in history to the Church of St. Lawrence and Fort St. Angelo. Then, they will see Marsaxlokk, Malta’s largest fishing village, with a chance to peruse the local market and taste local snacks.

New Family Tours:

  • Discover ancient Pompeii in Naples through an interesting and educational tour of the once thriving city frozen in time thousands of years ago after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Close the adventure with a fun question-and-answer game for the children.
  • Walk barefoot at farm Villarè in Messina, famed for its barefoot path that lets visitors feel nature through five senses: Touch, Hearing, Smell, Sight and Taste. Guests end the tour with a tasting of organic and local products.
  • Take to the hills at the highest point in Barcelona with enchanting, panoramic views, and then experience a thrill at the city’s only amusement park, Tibidabo Park, offering exciting Sky Walk rides and rollercoasters.

New Foodie Tours:

  • Bake handmade pizza In Naples. (Editor’s Note:  I Love this one!) Guests can enjoy one of the city’s best-kept secrets in the historical quarter — baking pizza on the city’s subterranean geothermal rock, hot enough to bake to perfection. The personal creation becomes lunch with the ability to taste some of the areas flavorsome ingredients.
  • Sail along the scenic Maltese coastline in Malta passing much of Valletta’s iconic waterfront sights including its Cottonera area made up of Senglea, Cospicua and Vittoriosa — collectively known as The Three Cities. Finish with a treat for the taste buds with a unique wine-tasting session with a view.

To find out more information on the Port Info service and shore excursions, visit here.

MSC Meraviglia Delivered And MSC Cruises Confirms Order For LNG-powered ‘World Class’ Ships

 

May 31, 2017.

Lots of MSC Cruises news today.

First, the company took possession of MSC Meraviglia during a Flag Ceremony at STX France.  During the ship’s flag ceremony, which pays tribute to centuries-old maritime tradition, the Company’s newest flagship received her official flag and blessings for good fortune. MSC Meraviglia is due to set sail towards the Port of Le Havre for her christening ceremony on June 3.

Following the ceremony, the two companies signed a new memorandum of understanding firming up the order of two 200,000 GRT, LNG-powered mega cruise ships, with options for two additional vessels. The four ships will become MSC Cruises’ World Class. The signing took place in the presence of Mr Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, and Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy.

In connection with the signing, MSC Cruises and STX France today also unveiled several key features of  the World Class. Among other innovations, they will be equipped with a completely new generation of LNG-powered engines as well as a new generation waste water treatment system.

MSC World Class.

MSC Cruises’ World Class cruise ships will feature 2,760 staterooms and a maximum occupancy of 6,850 guests, the highest passenger capacity in the global cruise fleet. The vessels, which will be delivered in 2022 and 2024 – the options are for 2025 and 2026 – will have a length of 1,083 ft. and 154 ft. of beam.

 

The World Class’ futuristic “Y” shape structure will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships’ G bow (vertically positioned at a 90 degree angle) has been designed to improve stability, hydrodynamics as well as to enhance guest comfort. Other guest-centric innovations include family-friendly villages, a panoramic aft, and a glass pool lounge.

During the ship’s flag ceremony, which pays tribute to centuries-old maritime tradition, the Company’s newest flagship received her official flag and blessings for good fortune. MSC Meraviglia is due to set sail towards the Port of Le Havre for her christening ceremony on June 3.

MSC Cruises Offers Helpful Tips & Experiences

 

May 17, 2017.

According to the Cruise Line International Association’s 2017 State of the Industry Report, the demand for cruising has increased 62 percent from 2005 to 2015 and nearly half (48%) of non-cruisers expressed interest in taking an ocean cruise.

Looking ahead to the busy summer travel season, our friends at MSC Cruises USA — the North American arm of MSC Cruises has provided some helpful tips and experiences to help every type of traveler make the best of their summer vacation.

THE FAMILY TRAVELER

Tip: People often have very different ideas of what makes a great vacation. Cruising makes it easier to choose a family vacation by offering activities and amenities that appeal to everyone in your group.  Do your research on family friendly activities the cruise line offers ahead of time so you have an idea of what to expect. Once on board, don’t forget to check the daily program highlights.

Experience on MSC Cruises: Kids sail free on MSC Cruises making traveling as a family extremely affordable. In addition, fleet wide, the cruise line offers dedicated activities for kids of all ages – from infants to teens.  Highlights include: cooking classes, where kids are taught basic cooking skills; language courses, where children learn basic sentences in 6 different languages; themed costume parades and shows; sports tournaments; scavenger hunts; arts and crafts; and teen disco and karaoke parties. In addition, MSC Cruises offers a unique LEGO Experience Day in which kids and their parents can compete in LEGO themed competitions and games where kids earn their LEGO Junior Master Builder Diploma. While the kids are off having fun with their new friends, adults can enjoy a relaxing treatment in the MSC Aurea Spa, catch one of the cruise lines award-winning Broadway style production shows, try their luck in the on-board casino, or dine in one of the many restaurants and bars.

THE ADVENTURER

Tip: If exploring or mingling with the locals is your thing, make sure to research and plan excursions ahead of time to maximize new cultural opportunities – and so you don’t miss out.

Experience on MSC Cruises: Excursions vary from port to port, but each tour is provided by certified partners with carefully selected, multilingual guides. From culinary tours of Italy, to experiencing the magnificent Tulum Mayan Ruins in Cozumel, walking tours of Split, Croatia, jeep adventures in Iceland, and exploring the interiors of the mosques in Abu Dhabi – MSC Cruises offers up to 2,000 shore excursions that have been specially created to satisfy every need and giving you the freedom to make the most of every moment ashore.

THE FIRST-TIMER                              

Tip: Make the most of your time at sea! Cruise ships are essentially floating cities – they are considered destinations in themselves. Guests should take the time to utilize and explore the various amenities and numerous choices of activities available to them on-board.

Experience on MSC Cruises: MSC Cruises offers unique, unexpected experiences on every voyage. On MSC Divina, guests can try out the Virtual Winery at Sea, a unique BlendCraft wine experience with professional winemakers where participants learn how wines are mixed and then are able to create, bottle and label their own blend of wine to enjoy on board, or take home! MSC Cruises also features 4D motion theaters, AquaCycling, Formula One race car simulators, state-of-the-art fitness facilities featuring Technogym equipment, bowling alleys, and most exclusively, Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows debuting this summer on MSC Meraviglia.

THE FOODIE 

Tip: Cruises offer a multitude of both casual and fine dining options while on board, so it’s important for food lovers to take advantage of as many as possible. Pre-purchase a dining package to venture out of your foodie comfort zone and try new cuisines at the best prices – your wallet and your taste buds will thank you for it.

Experience on MSC Cruises: Specialty restaurants are a standout feature on MSC Cruises’ ships, offering guests the opportunity to experience quality cuisines from around the world, even while at sea. On MSC Meraviglia, debuting in June in the Mediterranean, these exquisite dining experiences range from the freshest sushi, sashimi and tempura created by expert sushi chefs at Kaito Sushi Bar, an open chocolate atelier and sweet treats from award-winning French chocolatier and pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury, and delectable Italian dishes at Eataly’s Ristorante Italiano. The elevated dining experience will also be found on MSC Seaside, debuting this December in Miami, where guests can enjoy a variety of savory pan-Asian fare at the Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi and American-style fish dishes with a Mediterranean twist served at the signature seafood restaurant Ocean Cay.

THE SMART SPENDER

Tip: When booking, make sure you cruise for “deals!” If you book your trip far enough in advance, you could end up saving hundreds of dollars. Also, make sure to do your research and take advantage of package offerings that provide a great value.

Experience on MSC Cruises: With MSC Cruises’ unique “Inclusive Experiences” pricing, guests can select from five different vacation packages that range from best price to nearly all inclusive, based on their own personal vacation desires. By bundling various services and activities into a package, consumers get an excellent value for price and are able to pay for all the amenities they want upfront – a highly recommended option for travelers looking to save money and stick to a budget.

Looking for a great summer deal? With MSC Cruises’ Two for One cruise deal going on now, guests can save 50% off brochure rates.  Sample summer cruise itineraries and prices on MSC Divina, departing from Miami and sailing the Caribbean include:

August 19 Eastern Caribbean Cruise

  • Length: 8-days/7-nights
  • Itinerary: Departing from Miami and sailing to Philipsburg, St. Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nassau, Bahamas
  • Cost: Prices start at $449 per person

July 8 Mini Cruise

  • Length: 4-days/3-nights
  • Itinerary: Departing from Miami and sailing to Freeport, Grand Bahama and Nassau, Bahamas
  • Cost: Prices start at $299 per person

THE WELLNESS GURU

Tip: Don’t let a vacation trip up your healthy lifestyle – keep it going and utilize the available health and wellness amenities. Select healthy options such as the salad bar in the buffet, choose an active shore excursion such as hiking or horseback riding, or choose the stairs over the elevator. Your body will thank you for it.

Experience on MSC Cruises: Fleet wide, MSC Cruises offers a one of a kind Wellness Experience by Technogym – the first completely personalized 360° wellness experience at sea that incorporates wellness into every aspect of the cruise experience including: on-board fitness classes and activities, dedicated healthy food and beverage offerings, exclusive shore excursions, and stateroom amenities. The experience starts before the cruise even begins with a pre-cruise questionnaire designed to understand each guest’s specific goals. Once on board, the guest then meets with a MSC Master Trainer, trained by Technogym, who reviews the results of the questionnaire and helps them create a personalized wellness plan for the duration of the cruise shaped around the individual needs of the guest. As part of the experience, the self-service buffet on board includes a dedicated wellness corner and menus in the main restaurants include special icons to help guide guests’ food selection.

MSC Cruises is also the first cruise line in the world to offer AquaCycling classes to its passengers on board MSC Divina. Designed for all ages, AquaCycling is a full body workout allowing participants to burn up to 800 calories per hour! For MSC Cruises’ guests, it’s truly a unique experience, allowing them to cycle under water to upbeat music, while enjoying an amazing view at sea, and most importantly, having fun!

THE LUXURY LOVER

Tip: No vacation shaming allowed. You earned it. Indulge.

Experience on MSC Cruises: Guests looking for a more upscale, luxurious experience can opt stay in the MSC Yacht Club, which includes 24-hour butler service, concierge reception, dedicated MSC Yacht Club fine dining venues, a private pool, and a private elevator to take guests directly to the MSC Aurea Spa. With an innovative “ship within a ship” design, the MSC Yacht Club is an entirely self-contained private club area (accessed by key card only) that provides guests the best of both worlds — the privacy and exclusivity of a smaller ship with the bountiful choices and amenities only found on a larger ship, such as world-class entertainment like Cirque du Soleil, on board casinos, and specialty dining experiences like Eataly’s Chef’s Table.  Guests booking on MSC Cruises’ new builds – including MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside – will enjoy an enhanced MSC Yacht Club with additional suite options and enlarged public areas within with MSC Yacht Club.