MSC Grandiosa Completes Sea Trials

MSC Grandiosa

MSC Cruises’ first Meraviglia-Plus class ship, the MSC Grandiosa has successfully completed her first intensive systems tests at sea during a three-day trial in the Atlantic Ocean at the end of August.

MSC Grandiosa

The ship will next receive her finishing touches at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France before being officially delivered to MSC Cruises on Oct. 31, according to a statement.

MSC Grandiosa

The christening for the MSC Grandiosa is set for Nov. 9 in Hamburg ahead of an inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean with from her Genoa homeport to Civitavecchia, Palermo, Valletta, Barcelona and Marseilles.

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MSC Cruises More Details on Private Island Ocean Cay

Beaches at Ocean Cay

MSC’s Ocean Cay is set to welcome guests later this year to its private island experience in the Bahamas, with the cruise line releasing new details today.

Among the features are eight beaches; Seakers Family Cove, a shallow lagoon to play in with a beach for games, monitored by lifeguards; Seakers food court, which will be complimentary for guests; the Spa at Ocean Cay; various evening entertainment including a light show around the 98 ft. lighthouse at the centre of the island, a traditional Junkanoo parade — Bahamian festival and consisting of a feast of colourful costumes, music and dancing.; and shore excursions including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkelling and stargazing in the evenings.

“The vision for the island is to immerse guests in the natural beauty of their surroundings in the Bahamas. Ocean Cay is founded on a deep commitment to ecological principles – beliefs that shape everything from how venues are built and how the island is run, to the kinds of activities featured on the island. Work is underway to design opportunities for guests to learn about the protection of the oceans and the importance of preserving coral reefs through dedicated edutainment programs,” MSC said, in a prepared statement.

Ocean Cay (Conrad Schutt)

As part of the development of Ocean Cay, MSC said it is working to establish the roadmap for the restoration of marine resources, including habitats and species present in the area. This will include the restoration of endangered corals and the implementation of other conservation and educational programs.

The island is situated within protected waters spanning 64 square miles, but the ambition is to further extend this parameter to ensure an even greater impact, MSC said.

MSC also said it had commissioned a Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA) that provided a short term overview of the waters around Ocean Cay.

“An integral part of the marine ecosystem, coral needs to be protected as they maintain biodiversity, provide a habitat for marine life and protect coastlines,” the company said. “Now that the waters around the island are protected and it is no longer an industrial site once used for sand excavation, the seabed is returning to normal. The hope is that the coral will again begin to thrive. Plans are underway to establish a coral nursery on the East side of the island with the goal of propagating even more coral, particularly the more endangered varieties.”

The recent survey established that there are three types of coral that can be found in abundance — primarily Agaricia agaricites known as lettuce coral; Porites astreoides commonly known as mustard hill coral or yellow porites; and Siderastrea also known as massive starlet coral. These species are more capable of withstanding harsh temperature conditions and siltation than other species. Also found around the island during the assessment is the critically endangered Acropora palmata known as Elkhorn Coral. Four distinct colonies of this species were observed along the rocky shoreline of these cays. Over time these corals will become candidates for restoration in the coral nursery.

The Ocean Cay team is already seeing an increase in marine life in the area, and the REA identified 88 different species of fish around the island as well as lobster, sea turtles and rays.

MSC Unveils Stunning Multiple Ship Miami Terminal

MSC Terminal Rendering

MSC Cruises has announced details of what it said is a new highly-innovative cruise terminal at PortMiami that will support its expanding presence in North America and in the Caribbean

As per the terms of the agreement, which has today received approval from the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, MSC Cruises will design, construct, operate and maintain a large building that hosts two cruise terminals (AA and AAA) as well as two berths.

MSC Terminal Rendering

The PortMiami terminals will be capable of hosting two mega cruise ships at the same time, allowing the MSC to conduct two turnaround operations simultaneously, handling up to 28,000 passenger movements per day.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, said: “With another 13 cruise vessels due to join our fleet in the next eight years, our ambition is to have our most innovative ship classes represented at PortMiami, bringing a wealth of choice to our North American as well as international guests.

“In particular, the new terminal – which will be one of the most innovative the industry has seen – will ensure that we can provide our guests an enhanced end-to-end high-quality experience while both embarking and disembarking, thus adding to their ability to fully enjoy every moment of their vacation.”

Work on the new terminals is due to commence in early 2020. MSC Cruises currently estimates that the work will be completed by late 2022, at which time it will transfer all its PortMiami operations to the new Terminal, according to a statement.