MSC pushes summer 2021 ex-UK sailings with an all-inclusive offer

 MSC Magnifica

MSC Magnifica photo credit to Dave Jones

Summer 2021 ex-UK sailings are included in a new all-inclusive promotion launched by MSC Cruises.

The early booking promotion sees a premium drinks package included as part of the price on more than 1,000 departures between April and November 2021 from multiple embarkation ports across the world.

The initiative, which covers bookings made until December 2, includes all 22 MSC Magnifica sailings from Southampton on the ship’s second full ex-UK season as well as the Caribbean and Mediterranean fly-cruises.

UK and Ireland managing director Antonio Paradiso said: “After receiving feedback from our agents, as well as loyal customers, and taking into consideration the market landscape we’ve decided now is the right time to launch our latest promotion.

“We are seeing a definite appetite for booking holidays for 2021, however the feedback from the market has been that it has to be the right product at the right price.

“Our all-inclusive promotion is always incredibly popular, however now more than ever it’s important for guests to know that everything is taken care of.

“The all-inclusive price includes service charge and a premium drinks package so there really is nothing additional guests need to worry about.

“We understand the need from consumers to have a product that is great value, easy to understand and flexible which is why we think this promotion, combined with our stress-free cruising programme allowing flexible booking terms is the right promotion to stimulate bookings.”

He added: “We think this promotion provides a great opportunity for agents who we know are receiving enquiries from guests interested in a cruise to convert that initial interest into bookings, and ultimately to get their customers a great deal.”

Sailings from Southampton lead-in at £319 per person for a two-night mini-cruise.

A seven-night cruise on one of the flagship MSC Grandiosa starts at  £644pp.

Second MSC Cruises ship to return later with longer sailings

MSC Magnifica photo credit Dave Jones

by Phil Davies

To view images of the MSC Magnifica visit MSC Magnifica images

A second MSC Cruises ship is to resume sailings with ten-night voyages in October rather than week-long departures from next week.

This is the second time MSC Magnifica has been delayed in restarting.  The 2,550-passenger ship was previously due to sail on September 26 after being delayed from August 29.

A new re-start date of October 19 has been set for MSC Magnifica with a series of seven cruises including an eight-night Christmas itinerary departing on December 18 from Genoa in Italy.

The ship’s four proposed seven-night cruises from Bari, Italy between September 26 to October 24 have been cancelled as a result of the new scheduling

Passengers affected by the cancelled cruises will either be re-protected onto another cruise – in particular on MSC Grandiosa, which is currently sailing in the western Mediterranean – or will receive a future cruise credit valid until the end of 2021.

MSC Magnifica will follow the return to service of MSC Grandiosa, now on its fourth consecutive seven-night cruise.

Sailing an industry back to hope” – MSC Grandiosa sets off from Genoa - The  Moodie Davitt Report - The Moodie Davitt Report
MSC Grandiosa

The flagship resumed sailing in August for the first time since the suspension of cruises due to the Covid-19 pandemic following approval by authorities in Italy, Greece and Malta of the company’s new health and safety operating protocol, designed to protect passengers, crew and communities that the ship calls.

MSC Grandiosa’s sailings have been extended through to the end of the year, including a Christmas cruise to depart from Genoa on December 20.

The vessel is running seven-night cruises with embarkation in the Italian ports of Genoa, Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo, plus a calling at Valletta in Malta.

MSC Magnifica’s new programme covers both the west and the east Mediterranean from Genoa with calls at Livorno for Florence and Pisa, Messina in Sicily, Valletta in Malta, Piraeus for Athens and Katakolon for Olympia in Greece and Civitavecchia for Rome.

The ten-night itinerary is designed for passengers looking for longer voyages that offer more destinations and more time at sea.

The longer sailings are also expected to appeal to passengers flying from Schengen countries because of strong pan-European air links to both Rome and Genoa, which together with Messina, are two of the ship’s three embarkation ports.

The line also says ‘proximity cruising’ is proving to be popular with passengers who live both in Italy and in neighbouring countries.

Longer sailings are seen by the company to also appeal to consumers who typically cruise during the autumn and winter and those looking for a longer alternative to the seven-night MSC Grandiosa sailings.

MSC Magnifica is due to set off on a world cruise in 2021, for the second consecutive year, following the completion of the updated Med itinerary.

Feedback from some of the thousands of passengers who have so far sailed on MSC Grandiosa has been positive, with many calling their experience one of the safest holiday options available, according to the company.

Royal Caribbean Group ‘will learn from MSC and Tui restarts’

MSC Grandiosa - Wikipedia

Royal Caribbean Group boss Richard Fain has pledged to learn from the “small sample” of cruise lines that have restarted operations in recent weeks.

Speaking to travel agents on a webcast on online trade hub RCL Cares, Fain, the group’s chairman and chief executive, highlighted lines such as Tui Cruises and MSC Cruises, which have both started sailing again.

Fain said that it had been “encouraging” to see their return, adding that Costa Cruises appeared to be “a few weeks” away from joining them.

Fain said: “We are not through this yet but there are more bright spots and bits of good news than there have been for quite a while.

“We are closer to the other side of this crisis every day. It is also encouraging to see cruising start-up in other parts of the world.

“In Germany, our joint venture company Tui Cruises has been operating cruises since late July. In Italy, MSC Cruises started operating there just last week and has attracted a lot of really very positive publicity.

“We understand that Costa Cruises is operating there in just a few weeks. While this is just a small sample, we always said that we’d start slowly and methodically and we’re going to learn from these early efforts.”

Fain also used the webcast to introduce Dr Calvin Johnson, the group’s recently appointed head of public health and chief medical officer.

Asked by Fain why he had decided to apply for the role, Johnson said: “I saw the opportunity to apply my skills in a really meaningful and substantive way during probably the most significant health crisis in our time.

“It is the nature of the work. It is the opportunity to serve 75,000 crew and to protect their health and to serve four to six million guests a year and to protect their health. I am all focusing on the protection of health.”