MSC Armonia to Homeport in Tampa

MSC Armonia

MSC Cruises announced it is sending the Armonia to homeport in Tampa for the 2020-2021 cruise season, adding a key new homeport to the company’s arsenal.

Starting Nov. 11, 2020, MSC Armonia will begin sailing from Tampa to the Caribbean, Mexico and the Bahamas year-round, with a full Winter season (Nov. 2020 – April 2021) of four- to five-night short cruises followed by a Summer season (May 2021-Nov. 2021) of week-long cruise options.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, said: “The introduction of Tampa as a homeport is another important milestone as we continue to grow our presence and profile in North America to meet the growing demand for our product.

“MSC Armonia’s short cruises will be perfect for the first time U.S. guests to experience our European heritage and I’m sure that our seven-night product will appeal greatly to families.  With every sailing from Tampa including our exclusive Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve private island, all of the ship’s itineraries should also be extremely attractive for large U.S. groups and charters.”

“As MSC Cruises expands its presence in the U.S., the introduction of Tampa as a homeport plays an important role in our long-term deployment strategy for this region,” added Ken Muskat, EVP and Chief Operating Officer of MSC Cruises USA. “We’ve seen increased demand for cruise options from Tampa as vacationers from around the world look to explore the city and surrounding areas pre- and post-cruise. We’re looking forward to bringing MSC Armonia, one of our more classic and charming ships, to Tampa and to introducing even more travellers to the MSC Cruises experience, inspired by our European heritage.”

“We are thrilled that MSC Cruises will be offering year-round cruises from Port Tampa Bay next year,” said Paul Anderson, President and CEO of Port Tampa Bay. “MSC Cruises offers an enriching and immersive cruise experience, bringing together people from around the world. Tampa is also known for the unique experiences the city offers its residents and visitors, appealing to a diverse mix of nationalities and cultures. We couldn’t be more excited for MSC Armonia’s new home to be Port Tampa Bay.”

For the Winter 2020-2021 season, MSC Armonia will offer a variety of four- and five-night sailings, visiting destinations such as Key West; Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Progreso, Mexico; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.

“With a range of itineraries, including short cruise options, MSC Armonia’s itineraries from Tampa are ideal for groups, including family reunions, meetings, incentives and corporate events, as well as charters,” said Muskat. “In addition, the four- and five-night options are a great opportunity for someone who has never cruised before to try cruising as a vacation option or if they are new to MSC Cruises to check out one of our ships for the first time.”

Following its inaugural season in Tampa, MSC Armonia will then transition to 7-night sailings from May through Nov. 2021, with stops at Key West; Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve; Cozumel, Mexico; and Progreso, Mexico. Prices start at $299 per person.

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MSC to Stretch Magnifica, Add 215 New Staterooms

MSC Magnifica

The MSC Magnifica will be stretched by 23 meters, adding 215 new cabins ahead of her 2021 summer season from Southampton, the company announced today.

The stretch project is valued at $140 million, according to company officials; the 215 new rooms will include 92 balcony cabins.

Other additions will include a new water park, a new shopping area, two new restaurants and a redesigned kids area.

When work is completed, the MSC Magnifica will feature two new onboard environmental advances to complement a wide range of existing environmental technologies across the company’s entire fleet: a state-of-the-art Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system and next-generation Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) system. The ship will also get a shorepower system.

MSC Stretch Image

The UK summer season will run from May to October with cruises ranging from two to 14 nights, sailing to the Canary Islands and Madeira, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Baltic. Sales are set to open on Sept. 12.

The Magnifica is one of four ships in MSC’s Musica class of vessels, built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique and launched in 2010. She has a capacity for 2,550 guests at double occupancy.

Other Musica class vessels include the Musica, Orchestra and Poesia.

MSC previously stretched its four Lirica-class ships as more cruise operators turn to stretching vessels to add capacity.

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.