MSC Cruises has announced that travel celebrity Colleen Kelly and her family will set sail with the MSC Seaside on a cruise to the Caribbean for Season 6 of the PBS show Family Travel with Colleen Kelly.
The sixth season takes the Kelly family to Caribbean hotspots including Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; and Nassau, Bahamas and will offer tips for family vacations throughout the U.S. and abroad, a company statement said.
“The MSC Seaside is an ideal ship for families seeking a fun and enriching vacation,” said Ken Muskat, EVP and COO of MSC Cruises USA. “With the debut of Family Travel with Colleen Kelly, we’re thrilled that PBS viewers will have the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the varied programming and experiences MSC Cruises, and specifically the MSC Seaside can provide for multi-generational families.”
The MSC Seaside sails year-round from Miami to the Caribbean.
MSC Cruises’ UK boss says the line is “very close” to fulfilling a long-term ambition to have a 10% share of the UK cruise market.
In late 2017, the line pledged to one-day sell one in every ten cruises taken by the UK and become “a leading international player” within five years.
Antonio Paradiso, the line’s the UK and Ireland managing director said MSC currently has 7.9% of the market but believes a lengthened MSC Magnifica would add a further 90,000 berths to the market in 2021.
Speaking on new Meraviglia-Plus class ship MSC Grandiosa in Southampton, Paradiso said: “I am really confident that by 2022, MSC will be the number one international cruise line in this country. We are getting very close to that.
“We’re are at about 7.9%, so we’re getting there. A big boost will be when MSC Magnifica will sail out of Southampton [in summer 2021].”
Southampton will be MSC Magnifica’s only embarkation port when it is based in the UK in summer 2021.
Paradiso said: “It is a great opportunity for the travel agents. [Magnifica] alone will boost our production by 90,000 passengers.”
The line also has plans to further bolster its growing sales team in 2020. Paradiso said he would recruit for a strategic account manager – a new role – early next year.
“The strategic account manager will help [head of retail] Andrea Stafford strengthen the relationship with all the head offices in the UK and some important key accounts,” he said.
Paradiso said the sales team expansion goes “hand in hand” with the growth the line was experiencing in the UK.
MSC launched MSC Bellissima earlier this year. MSC Grandiosa is 16 metres longer than the Meraviglia-class ship.
On Grandiosa, the line has exhibited an art collection on a ship for the first time, expanded its French Bistrot L’Atelier Bistrot and launched two exclusive Cirque du Soleil shows onboard.
The line has welcomed around 4,200 UK agents across its fleet since the launch of MSC Bellissima in Southampton in March this year.
Ship visits would be arranged when MSC ships called in the UK and Ireland, said Paradiso, who added: “One thing we do very successfully is fam trips every year which are normally fly-and-cruise out of Barcelona or Rome which allow agents to spend time onboard.
“The ex-UK sailings represent a good portion of our business. However, the Mediterranean is still the number one destination for the UK market.
“It is important that agents get to experience the ships that we have in the Med.”
From 2023, the line will launch four 64,000-ton luxury vessels which have yet to be named. Paradiso said the name would be announced between March and April next year.
“The first step would be to announce the brand,” he said. “We will disclose a bit more information about the luxury ships that we are building. The UK will be one of the first countries in the world to go on sale.”
The MSC Meraviglia’s promenade ceiling is alight with LED lights that change patterns and even put on a show. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin
NEW YORK — The MSC Meraviglia arrived here on Monday from Europe, with MSC Cruises executives noting more than once that it is the largest cruise ship to dock in Manhattan.
The Meraviglia (pronounced Mer-a-VEE-lia) is sailing three cruises from New York, and then it will reposition to Miami for the winter season. The Meraviglia joins the MSC Seaside, the line’s year-round ship in the Caribbean, and the MSC Divina and MSC Armonia this fall. For the first time, MSC has four ships serving the North American market simultaneously.
The Meraviglia, one of the largest ships in the fleet, carries 4,488-passengers at double occupancy and is 171,598 gross tons. In the U.S., only Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships are bigger.
Night views: The MSC Meraviglia’s pool deck. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin
“This is a perfect example of our commitment to growing in the North American market,” COO Ken Muskat said in brief remarks Monday night. “We are the fastest-growing cruise line in the world. … We are growing in North America in a very big way.”
Even so, he added, “We’re very passionate about our European roots and our European style. You’ll see that in the decor, you’ll see that in the hardware, you’ll see that in the culinary experiences, and you’ll also see that in our entertainment.”
The European flavour is on display the moment guests step into the center promenade. The ceiling is made up of thousands of LED lights that change into different patterns and put on an evening light show. On various visits to the promenade over the course of the evening, the ceiling changed from a pattern reminiscent of the Galleria Vittoria Emanuele in Milan to a cloud-filled sky to a homage to the Sistine Chapel.
The dramatic Swarovski crystal staircase on the MSC Meraviglia. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin
The vessel is massive with plentiful public spaces. There’s a full-size, indoor basketball court. One big area with a swimming pool gives way to another big area with a swimming pool. When you get on the elevator and your guide says, “Press the button for Deck 16,” it’s not even the top deck; there are 19.
Although it is mega in size, the Meraviglia is broken down into smaller gathering spaces that make it seem positively intimate at times. Take the Carousel Lounge, which is purpose-built for MSC’s exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows. It’s a small theatre in the (almost) round, and guests are close enough to the performers to make eye contact.
A selection of tapas at the Hola! restaurant. The restaurant features culinary creations by Michelin-starred chef Ramon Freixa. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin
The Meraviglia has no shortage of celebrity and brand partnerships. In addition to the Cirque du Soleil performances, a tapas restaurant features the dishes from Michelin-starred chef Ramon Freixa. The Chocolat and Cafe bear the name of pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury. The kid’s clubs are Lego designed. A partnership between MSC and Martha Stewart includes curated shore excursions, gift packages and onboard holiday dinner menus.