MSC Cruises to base at least 10 ships in Europe

MSC Cruises has revealed a programme of new and updated itineraries on 10 ships, which will be based across Europe this summer.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ chief executive, said that “in the coming weeks” the line hoped to add more itineraries, ships and ports to its 2021 European programme.

In addition to the itineraries on 10 ships in the Mediterranean, northern Europe and the UK, Onorato announced that all the programme’s itineraries would include more embarkation ports.

Mediterranean itineraries have up to 15 embarkation ports to ensure passengers can board MSC vessels closer to home and reduce journey times to the ship.

MSC Grandiosa, MSC Seaside and MSC Seashore will be based in the western Mediterranean calling at Italy and Malta.

Valencia and Barcelona have been added to MSC Grandiosa’s current seven-night itinerary, which also includes Italian ports Genoa, Civitavecchia (for Rome), Naples, Palermo, and Valletta, Malta.

More: MSC Cruises’ new flagship makes debut on UK coastal sailings

From May 1, MSC Seaside will start sailing from Genoa to Siracusa, Sicily; Taranto, Puglia; Civitavecchia (for Rome) and Valetta in Malta.

The line said it expects to add Marseille “soon”, but it could confirm the addition of a private beach experience in Taranto, exclusively for MSC Seaside’s passengers.

At the end of July, MSC Seashore will join the fleet ahead of its maiden cruise on August 1.

EVO-class ship MSC Seaside will sail seven-night itineraries calling at Genoa, Naples, Messina, Valetta, Barcelona, and Marseille until October 31.

MSC is set to deploy a further three ships – MSC Splendida, MSC Orchestra and MSC Magnifica – in the eastern Mediterranean, calling at Italy, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro.

From June 12, MSC Splendida will offer sailings to Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Greece; and Kotor in Montenegro. Passengers can embark in Trieste on Saturdays and Bari on Tuesdays during the sailing.

MSC Orchestra will start sailing on June 5, offering embarkation in Venice on Saturdays and Bari on Sundays. Other ports of call include Corfu, Mykonos and Dubrovnik.

Passengers can embark MSC Magnifica in Venice on Sundays, Bari on Mondays and Piraeus (for Athens) on Wednesdays. Mykonos and Split are both included in the itinerary.

MSC Cruises has been forced to push back ex-Germany sailings due to “current uncertainty regarding the timing for the reopening of local ports”. Voyages are now scheduled to start on June 15.

MSC Seaview will homeport in Kiel, Germany, offering sailings from June 19. The ship will replace MSC Virtuosa, which will offer UK coastal sailings out of Southampton.

MSC Preziosa is planned to depart on June 21 from Hamburg, Germany, and MSC Musica on June 20 from Warnemunde, Germany, if the country’s ports are open.

The three ships are planned to sail seven night sailings or longer with itineraries either to the Norwegian fjords or the Baltic capitals.

Onorato said: “I am confident that in the coming weeks we will be able to further enrich some of these itineraries as well as add more ships with new ones, as more ports and tourist destinations, in particular in Spain and France, become available to receive ships and visitors.”

He added: “We will be featuring some of our most innovative and more modern vessels in our fleet.

“And to make it even easier and safer for our guests to reach our ships from closer to their homes, all our itineraries will feature additional ports of embarkation.

“In the Mediterranean alone, MSC Cruises will offer its guests up to 15 ports of embarkation.

“[Although] these ships represent only an initial portion of our fleet, they include our two latest jewels, MSC Virtuosa and MSC Seashore, both of which will have come into service for the first time in 2021.”

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