MSC Cruises to homeport ‘enlarged’ ship in Southampton

MSC Cruises is to lengthen and refurbish one of its ships and homeport it in Southampton for the summer season in 2021.

The ship, which has not been named, will go into drydock and re-emerge as “a super-enhanced version” of itself.

It will be the first time MSC has based one of its ships in the UK for a full season.

Speaking exclusively to Travel Weekly, Antonio Paradiso, managing director for UK & Ireland, said: “This is not just a refitting. It will be a perfect blend of an old prototype ship and a new one.

“The larger ship will sail northern Europe itineraries to the Baltic capitals, Norwegian Fjords, North Cape and some southbound destinations.”

He also said: “It was the first time we have made a 100% commitment to the UK market.”

Paradiso revealed the ship would partner with “exciting British brands” and be “adapted” to meet the needs of the UK market.

“We learnt a lot from MSC Magnifica, bringing on British food, kettles and tea bags,” he added. “It has satisfaction scores of 7.5 out of 10 which is great for a first operation out of the UK.

“2021 gives us an opportunity to further improve those scores.”

Paradiso said plans were still being finalised and he would confirm the ship, deployment and details in “two to three months’ time”.

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Edge of Space Flight incentive from Norwegian Cruise Line

Image result for MiG-29

Love2shop vouchers… a bunch of flowers… a food hamper… travel agents get the chance to win some great prizes by making bookings. But has Norwegian Cruise Line just announced the mother of all incentives?

Norwegian Cruise Line will reward any agent who makes 499 bookings of its current £99 roundtrip airfare offer with a flight to the edge of space.

Last month, the line revealed passengers could upgrade to a cruise-fly fare to more than 25 European destinations for just £99 up until January 4.

Today, to further incentivise agents, NCL is offering a string of rewards for those making bookings – with the top prize a chance to reach the very tip of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Five bookings will earn agents a Time Together giftbox, which includes a champagne helicopter tour, worth up to £79.

Ten bookings will give agents an iFly Indoor Skydive and a three-course meal for two, worth up to £99.

But, if agents can upgrade 499 bookings from a cruise-only fare to a cruise-fly one, they will earn the chance to fly to Russia, strap into a G-suit and soar 80,000ft on board a MiG-29 aircraft.

Nick Wilkinson, NCL’s vice president and UK & Ireland managing director, said he was “lucky” to have a team around him to develop such “sexy” plans to reward agents.

“We are very excited about introducing this new incentive,” he said. “This idea had an incredible wow factor.

“I go back to our partners-first approach. We value our travel partners. We are always thinking of ways that we can incentivise them.

“We try to make sure that NCL is at the front of their mind. This offer gives agents the chance to do something that has never been done – it is sexy.”

The Edge of Space flight is scheduled to take off at the end of March or early April, Wilkinson said.

Carnival starts construction on its largest ship

Carnival Cruise Line on Thursday unveiled what the exterior of its first XL ship will look like.
At a steel-cutting ceremony at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, Carnival revealed a navy-blue hull with vibrant red and white accents running the length of the ship.
The 5,200-passenger ship, due to be delivered in 2020, will be Carnival’s largest at 180,000 gross tons. Carnival said it would reveal the ship’s name in December.
When it enters service in 2020, the ship will sail from Port Canaveral, Fla.
Carnival says the ship “will offer a variety of never-before-seen innovations.” It will be the first cruise ship based in North America to run on liquefied natural gas, Carnival said.
A second XL ship will start construction in 2020 and be delivered in 2022.