Are you Ready for the Seaside?
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msc cruises seaside main image

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The MSC Seaside will make her much anticipated debut next month and promises to change the rule book of ship design.

Some of the main features include:

  • 11 dining venues
  • 19 bars and lounges
  • 1,315 balcony cabins
  • 6 pools
  • 4 water slides
  • 934 seat indoor theatre

She will sail all year round from her home port of Miami with her inaugural voyage departing on 23rd of December 2017.

Take a look at more of her main features in the infographic below (click the image for a larger version)

msc cruises seaside infographic small version

WATCH THE MSC SEASIDE VIDEO

MSC Seaside Video Image

Images and video courtesy of MSC Cruises

For more information on this ship including dates and prices please get in touch here.

Introducing the MSC Meraviglia
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MSC Meraviglia exterior shot

The Meraviglia’s Italian name translates to ‘wonder’; which is pretty accurate considering her glamour and incredible innovations. After her maiden voyage, the reviews were full of positives.

She contains many firsts for MSC Cruises and two sister-ships are also on order.

STATEROOMS

MSC Meraviglia has 14 decks and 22 different room categories ranging from basic inside cabins to Wellness Deluxe Suites. The hues chosen for the traditional cabins are elegant and tranquil and utilise earth tones with a mix of cocoa and several shades of charcoal. Upgrading to Yacht Club cabins as seen below is an entirely different experience with huge rooms and breathtaking colour schemes.

MSC Meraviglia Yacht Club Wellness Deluxe Suite

MSC have introduced a new concept onboard the Meraviglia known as “Super Family Cabins” which consist of two Balcony cabins connected for families and groups of up to 10 passengers.

A new type of stateroom is also available and bound to be a hit with solo travellers. The interior inside cabins are designed tastefully and singles won’t be required to pay double the fare.

MSC Meraviglia Interior Studio

Standard inside cabins are bigger than the industry norm with plenty of storage space too. The square footage increases with the category chosen.

DINING

Foodies of all types will be very pleased at the fantastic array of dining options available. There are 12 free or for a-fee-specialty venues to dine in.

Inclusive dining can be obtained at the traditional fixed time “classic” restaurants Waves, L’Olive Doree & L’Olivo D’Oro and also Panorama. The latter offers four or five course meals with views that are spectacular.

Of course, there is the Marketplace Buffet which is bound to be popular with those wanting a bite to eat at odd times, as it is open 20 hours a day. Besides pizza, pasta and salads, there’s a good choice of traditional and ethnic cuisine options. Whether you choose something from the “fruit and vegetable market” or another station, the open kitchens are in full view to all.

Fee dining is well worth considering too. Prepared on the spot sushi and teppanyaki featuring some of Asia’s best sashimi and tempura can be experienced at Kaito Teppanyaki.

MSC Meraviglia Kaito Teppanyaki

The All American Butchers Cut steakhouse features big cuts of thick and prime beef served to your personal taste.

The Eataly Ristorante Italiano serves authentic Northern and Southern Italian cuisine. The restaurant also has an option to indulge in the ‘chef’s table’.

HIGHLIGHTS & ACTIVITIES

The MSC Meraviglia is so full of activities that you may be tempted to not even leave this state-of-the-art ship when she calls at port!

The first thing that you will notice whilst strolling along the Galleria is the “atmospheric digital sky” created by a 5,200 square foot screen. This massive LED dome is filled with every colour of the spectrum and depicts abstract designs dotting the ceiling one minute and then changes to stained glass mosaics the next.

Even pre-meals onboard are something unique with a new concept called “pre-dinner parades”. These are short entertainment performances and take place mostly on the bridge over the Promenade. There are dancers, singers and performers of all kinds dressed in elaborate costumes. This parade serves as a sampler of the entertainment on the rest of the ship.

Kids and adults alike will enjoy the Aqua Park, which contains four heart stopping water slides and a splash pool. Thrill seekers can try out the Himalayan Bridge, a zip line located near three other pools.

MSC Meraviglia Aquapark

The Carousel Lounge contains all the latest in technology and is surrounded by a 180 degree circular glass wall. MSC has now laid claim to be the only line to feature the world famous Cirque de Soleil in the Carousel Lounge. Their incredible acrobatics can be enjoyed 6 nights of the week. There are two options to enjoy Cirque de Soleil; as a dinner theatre or just the performance.

Another first for the cruise line is “MSC for Me”, which serves as an interactive concierge. This digital service will allow passengers to book activities and meals with their family and friends and allow them to see each deck.

Other activities include a miniature carnival complete with a merry-go-round, a bowling alley that’s perfect for a casual night and an inordinate sports arena. The sports arena has areas suitable for basketball, football and volleyball.

There are activities for technology fans as well. Technological related fun consists of two F1 Racing Simulators, a 5D cinema, a Flight Simulator and arcade games ranging from the retro to the truly innovative.

MORE ACTIVITIES FOR THE LITTLE ONES

Children will never be bored on the ship as there are many activities especially for them. The children’s club, Doremi Lab consists of rooms separated by age group as well as an interactive room for the family. There is also a “laboratory” where children can work with 3D printers and laptops and conduct “experiments”. Doremi Lab is sponsored by LEGO, making it more appealing to kids that are fans of the brand.

MSC Meraviglia Doremi Lab

Other family activities include a family disco and a farewell party at the end of the trip. There is also a teen’s club which is directly adjacent to the kids club and is filled with the latest video games, sports competitions and dancing with the lounge being one giant floor.

THE ITINERARIES

Presently, the MSC Meraviglia is offering 7 Night Mediterranean Cruises visiting Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa, Naples, Messina and Valletta. Any of the Mediterranean cruises can be embarked in what would be of convenience to the passenger with a choice of Genoa, Messina or Barcelona.

The itinerary changes in November of 2017 and adds Civitavecchia (Rome) and Palermo to the offering. This will be consistent up to April 2018 when the ship will head north. The sailing of the 18th of April 2018 departs from Genoa towards Hamburg on an 11 night trip with stops at Marseille, Barcelona, Cadiz (Seville), Lisbon, Vigo, Southampton, Le Havre and Hamburg.

This voyage can be extended for an additional 11 nights with added ports including Invergordon, Kirkwall, Greenock, Dublin, and Cork. For the summer of 2018, the MSC Meraviglia will be based in Northern Europe offering a variety of itineraries consisting of 10, 11 and 21-night sailings before returning to the Mediterranean in October.

Images courtesy of MSC Cruises

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What to see when docked in Genoa
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Genoa Italy

While never identified as a famous port like Rome, Naples or Venice; Genoa can certainly compete on many fronts. It is a highly rewarding destination, providing cruise holidaymakers with many things to see and do.

PORT OF GENOA

The port of Genoa, Stazione Maritima, serves container and cruise ships. It is a large harbour and can accommodate several ships on the same date and time. Stazione Maritima is the home port for MSC cruise ships but other major cruise lines have ships that dock here too.

The cruise port has several transportation options for you to get about. It’s also possible to walk to the city centre in 15 minutes. Taxis are available right outside of the terminal. However, there is also a metro stop by the port at the Principe metro station that will take you to the city centre or the old port. The local buses N° 9, 11 or 32 have stops at the port as well.

MSC Poesia and MSC Fantasia in Genoa

Image courtesy of MSC Cruises

THINGS TO SEE

There are many attractions to fill up your day in Genoa.

One of the things that the inhabitants of Genoa are most proud of is their ‘native son’. They call their city the ‘Land of Columbus’ since explorer Christopher Columbus was born in 1451 and raised here. The house is tucked away outside the city gates.

Genoa is Italy’s sixth largest city. However, the historic centre is compact and an easy walk. A good place to start once disembarking is the Porto Antico (the old harbour).

Acquario di Genova (aquarium) is conveniently located here. It was built specifically for Expo 92 and holds the title as the second largest aquarium in Europe. A biosphere known as “La Bolla” is a modernistic glass ball utilized as a conservatory for plants, as well as birds and insects.

Acquario di Genova

In its old town, it’s easy to be transported back to the Middle Ages, with the hilltop castle, the cathedrals and the narrow cobblestone alleyways. Medieval, Roman and Venetian architecture can be seen everywhere.

The San Lorenzo Cathedral or “Duomo” is Genoa’s oldest cathedral and dates back to the 5th or 6th centuries. This historical building has a black and white striped marble facade interior with Moorish influence. During the WW1, the cathedral was one of the few buildings that withstood attack without any damage. A British battleship fired a shell into it but it never exploded. The fuse and the shell are still intact and are visible in a corner of the nave.

A different fate bestowed the 19th century Teatro Carlo Felice (Opera House) located on Piazza de Ferrari, the city’s main square. During WW2, the building was severely damaged during the bombing raids throughout the city. The Opera House was restructured to its former glory and reopened in 1991 serving as a house of culture for ballet, opera and concerts.

The symbol of the city of Genoa is its Museo Laterna, a lighthouse dating back to medieval times. The lighthouse’s property houses an enormous museum which contains several artefacts related to Genoa’s vast history. The observation deck boasts a wonderful view.

Located on Via Garibaldi, the UNESCO World Heritage Site was the home of the aristocracy. Today, it serves as a “museum street”, consisting of Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Tursi.

  • The Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) museum contains much of its original 17th Century furniture and impressive frescoes as well as a prestigious art gallery.
  • Palazzo Bianco (White Palace) houses the city’s premier art gallery.
  • Palazzo Tursi serves as home to Genoa’s city council but also plays hosts to several cultural events and art exhibitions.

After sightseeing, passengers find that shopping in the small shops in the old town is a perfect end to the day before heading back to the ship. Originating in Genoa is the much loved Pesto sauce with many shops selling it freshly sealed in a jar.

OTHER AREAS

Genoa serves as port to tour other areas such as the very picturesque Portofino on the Italian Riviera. On the Flower Riviera, another alternative is the Renaissance town of Savona.

The village, Portovenere is a picture perfect UNESCO World Heritage Site and belongs to the Cinque Terre. This is a collective name, meaning 5 lands for five picturesque villages located in a National Park along the Ligurian coast.

Portovenere

To visit any of these places outside of Genoa, arrange for a tour excursion from the ship’s tour desk or venture on your own via train from Genoa or by taxi.

CRUISE SHIP SEASON

Most cruise vessels call on Genoa from April to October. The exception is MSC, who have a ship in this charming home port year round.

WHO CALLS AT GENOA?

The following cruise lines offer itineraries that include Genoa:

  • Carnival
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Costa Cruises
  • Crystal Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Princess Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean International

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A Look at MSC’s Divina
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MSC Divina in Miami

Built in 2012, the MSC Divina carries 3500 passengers and like all of the MSC Cruises fleet is a family oriented ship. Take a look at what makes the Divina so ‘divine’.

ACCOMMODATION

There are over 1,700 cabins available onboard the Divina with 95 percent of them having balconies. There are also inside and ocean view cabins and something that will work for those traveling with children, the ‘Super Family Cabins’. These are two balcony cabins combined into one and offering double the space.

Super Family Cabins

There are several classes of suites including the Aurea Suites which offer panoramic views. The Yacht Club cabins and suites are located on the 15th and 16th floors and promise a level of exclusivity to passengers with its “ship-within-a-ship” concept. Those in the Yacht Club Suites have a private lounge with a buffet service, a swimming pool and a sundeck. All cabins have interactive flat-screen TV and Internet connectivity.

Yacht Club Suite

Those booked in suites obtain added benefits such as the concierge service, a Nintendo Wii with a library of games, an enormous marble bathroom with luxury toiletries and a complimentary mini-bar.

DINING

The MSC Divina contains several speciality restaurants including the Tex Mex restaurant. The main dining areas on the ship are The Black Crab and Villa Rossa. Both restaurants contain exactly the same menus and consist of five courses for dinner.

Two extensive buffets, the Manitou and Calumet contain everything from international dishes to hamburgers and hot dogs. In the mornings they serve a continental breakfast.

Divina Calumet Buffet

Other dining areas include the Eataly Steakhouse, well known for their prime cuts of meat, Ristorante Italia which has a large amount of dishes from Tuscany and for those that want something different than pasta, La Cantina di Bacco, is a casual restaurant that offers tapas and a good range of pizza options. If you wish to eat in, there is also room service and a pizza delivery.

The Eataly Steakhouse

THINGS TO DO

Those that are used to traditional shows will be surprised at the extravagance on Divina with its thrilling acrobatic and contortionism in its pirate themed shows and operas. Located in the neon and crystal decorated Pantheon Theatre, these shows are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Those that want to try to sing like a star should try out the karaoke at the Golden Jazz Bar. The Sports Bar located next door offers the latest up to date news on all major sports and has a lot of snack food to enjoy while you are there.

Divina Sports Bar

MSC Divina offers many opportunities for the sports minded. There is a basketball court, football and volleyball facilities and exercise equipment in the fitness centre. There is also yoga and zumba classes offered that are sure to give the body a good workout.

Of course, don’t forget the various pools, all of which are a great place to cool down and relax. The main pool is the Garden Pool which is adults only and contains a more casual atmosphere. The bar nearby provides perfect refreshments.

Divina garden pool

Unique family fun can be found with the Formula 1 Simulator and the 4D Cinema, both of which offer a way to escape from reality and immerse in a private world.

For pure relaxation, head to the Spa which covers an area of over 20,000 square feet. The large number of treatments on their menu range from simple massages to Shiatsu.

ITINERARIES

The MSC Divina is gearing up for her ‘Grand Voyage’ and is returning back to Europe. She will be departing from Miami on the 26th of April for a 20 night sailing. Ports of call include King’s Wharf in Bermuda, a 2-day stop in New York, Ponta Delgada in the Azores, Lisbon, Cadiz (Seville), Barcelona, Naples before finishing up on the 16th of May in Civitavecchia (Rome).

A shorter segment of 17 nights is also available. The Divina will then be doing seven night itineraries throughout the Mediterranean until Oct 24, 2015, when she heads west towards the Caribbean on another Grand Voyage of 18 nights.

Images courtesy of MSC Cruises

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MSC Armonia relaunched after Refit
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msc armonia

MSC cruises made headlines earlier this week with the relaunch of the MSC Armonia. The ship set sail on the 18th of November from Genoa on a 10-day cruise to the Canary Islands. About2Cruise has been covering this ongoing story.

“I’m very proud of what we and our partners at Fincantieri have achieved with MSC Armonia. Not only is she smarter and more spacious, but we have given her a new lease of life that will appeal to experienced cruise travellers and first-timers in equal measure. This is why we call her ‘the ship that suits you’” stated MSC Cruises’ CEO, Gianni Onorato.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW ARMONIA

No expense has been spared and the refurbishment is part of MSC’s newest scheme, the Renaissance Programme. The other ships placed in the Renaissance programme for dry-dock are:  MSC Sinfonia – 12 January to 16 March 2015; MSC Opera – 2 May to 4 July 2015; MSC Lirica – 31 August to 9 November 2015.

CABINS

The Armonia holds 1,566 passengers, making it cosier and more intimate than the new builds of today. There are now 786 cabins with more balcony cabins than before the refurbishment. Amenities in all of the smartly decorated staterooms and suites include a flat-screen TV, minibar/fridge combo, a personal safe that is located behind a vanity mirror, a hairdryer and a bathroom with shower and toilet.

THREE MSC EXPERIENCES

Passengers can choose from three different experiences onboard the Armonia which are tailored to their needs. The ‘Bella’ offers what is considered standard cruise service and amenities. The ‘Fantastica’ contains added perks of luxury and the ‘Aurea’ throws in complimentary spa treatments and free refills on beverages.

DINING

There are numerous options for dining onboard the ship. The main restaurant on the Armonia is the Marco Polo, which has open seating for breakfast and lunch and serves a number of international dishes for dinner. There is also an Italian restaurant that is more formal, La Pergola which is available by reservation.

A buffet is open 20 hours a day for those that want casual dining and a variety of cuisines. There are a number of lounges that make for a great escape to sit back and relax after an exciting day at port.

ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT

Children will be enthralled by the special areas for them that have been designed by family-friendly companies such as Chicco® and LEGO®. The swimming pool has added a Spray Park with water jets, slides and other aquatic attractions.

Enjoy unique entertainment at the La Gondola theatre which features performances of plays, cabaret shows, magicians and other interesting shows. Live music is also played in some of the bars onboard.

At the Atlantica Spa there are many treatments available from relaxing in the steam room to massage treatments from MSC’s experienced staff. A good aromatherapy session with chamomile and eucalyptus can be just the thing to remove stress and the Rasul chamber is highly recommended too.

For those who want to get some exercise on the ship, there is a gym with all the latest equipment and a view of the ocean. Outside of the spa, there is a rock climbing wall as well as a basketball/volleyball court.

UPCOMING ITINERARIES

Examples of itineraries planned for this ‘newest’ member of MSC’s fleet include 7 or 9 night winter sailings to the Canary Islands. For the summer months 5 or 7 night itineraries in the Mediterranean will be available with ports of call such as Ajaccio, Spezia, Marseille, Palma de Mallorca, Valletta, Messina and Salerno.

The most highly anticipated sailing for The Armonia is their Grand Voyage scheduled for the 25th of October 2015. This 20-night sailing is far from the typical repositioning cruise. Departing from Spezia, Italy the ship is planning stops in Europe that include Marseille and Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Malaga and Cadiz.

Then it is off to the Canary Island ports of Arrecife de Lanzarote and Santa Cruz de Tenerife before cruising the Atlantic to Salvador, Buzios, Ilhabela and Santos, Brazil.

She will remain in South America for the winter 2016 with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 night sailings before making a 19-night turnaround back to Italy on the 14th of March.

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