MSC cruises will add a new year-round sailing option from Florida, doing 7-night itineraries from Miami starting this November on board MSC Divina. In advance of that deployment, MSC has some special booking offers with pricing and benefits that are surely worth a look. We’ll get to that shortly. First, a little about the company, the ship that will be sailing from Florida and our hopes for the family-owned line.
MSC Cruises is a privately-held Italian cruise line with a fleet of 12 ships that cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and, up until now, seasonally in the Caribbean and other parts of the world. Unique to MSC, the line offers free sailing for kids 11 and younger when sailing with two full fare paying guests in the same stateroom and children 12 to 17 sail at a reduced rate. 133,500-ton MSC Divina will begin sailing year-round from PortMiami, beginning November 20th, 2013.
A family-owned company, this is not the first time MSC has made a stab at the North American market. We sailed MSC Orchestra in 2008 when the then-new ship was sailing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Since that less-than-stellar sailing, a lot has changed with MSC including a recent move to bring on board cruise industry veteran Ken Muskat to drive their sales force. Ken has a very good understanding of what makes North American cruise travelers tick, should have a big impact on the MSC experience and, frankly, is the reason we are re-visiting MSC today.
Onboard MSC Divina, guests will enjoy a variety of healthy choices tailored for every meal. Throughout the day, dining experiences will offer a range of light options (such as soups, salads, grilled chicken and fish, steamed vegetables and egg white omelets), vegetarian selections (curries, pastas and special vegetarian dishes) and whole grain breads. In addition, MSC has introduced “Deliciously Healthy Menus” for dinner, featuring a selection of nutrionally balanced dishes all listed with caloric values. Gluten-free dishes (approved by the Italian Celiac Association or AIC) are also offered in main dining rooms.
Also new at MSC Cruises, a partnership with Eataly, the popular Turin-based chain and epicurean emporium to launch two new restaurants and a marketplace onboard MSC Divina. The ship will now feature two unique dining venues; the upscale Ristorante Italia and spectacular regional steakhouse, Manzo, fashioned after the famed restaurant in Eataly’s Manhattan location.
A boutique Eataly marketplace will also be available for guests to purchase authentic Italian and artisan products, including olive oils, dried pastas, regional sweets and aged balsamics.
“Much like MSC,” said Muskat in a MSC press release, “Eataly is taking its Italian roots and expanding in North America. It is now one of the most talked about food emporium concepts with 16 locations around the world, including one in Manhattan and another opening this fall in Chicago.”
Unique Take On Health and Fitness
Taking health & wellness to a new level, MSC will introduce “Five Colors of Well-Being”, creating synergies between the nutritious drinks and spa treatments offered at the MSC Aurea Spa & Bar with nutritional selections found in the Wellness Corner of the buffet.
Colors can influence our lives and our moods while our health and well-being can be affected by the rainbow of nutrients in our food. With this in mind, the “Five Colors of Well-Being” are
- Blue/Violet (cleansing),
- Green (relaxing),
- Red (anti-aging),
- White (purity) and
- Yellow/Orange (beautiful skin).
Guests can now choose spa treatments, nutritious drinks and healthy foods based on their area of focus as outlined by the Five Colors of Well-Being menu.
Also unique, Aqua Cycling by Hydrorider, this summer’s latest fitness craze, will allow MSC Divina guests to take spinning to new heights while cruising the Caribbean. Hydrorider provides aquatic cycles made of marine industry stainless steel that can be placed in pools for classes and training. For a minimal fee, guests can participate in classes led by fitness professionals who have been trained in the benefits of cycling under water, while enjoying energetic music and healthy fitness challenges.
New Entertainment Experiences
Onboard MSC Divina, new entertainment options include
- Production shows featuring a cast of 30 dancers, singers, musicians and visual acts as well as headline entertainment specially tailored to the itinerary and/or guest nationality.
- Destination-specific entertainment– As guests cruise the Eastern and Western Caribbean, island bands will be featured onboard with local cultural shows offered pier-side on certain days.
- Dance lovers onboard MSC Divina will be able to take the stage in a big way and “Dance with the Stars” as they are paired up with one of MSC’s professional dancers and enter competitions.
- Italian Days dedicated to the music, dance, cuisine and folklore of the region, featuring Italian themed dinners, theater shows, music, language lessons, dance lessons and the art of pizza making will be presented regularly.
- Teens will like new activities including Teen’s White Party, MSC Flashmob and Hey Mr. DJ Hip-Hop while our mini and junior club guests will enjoy activities such as Kids Bingo, Fairytales Time and live talent shows.
Top 18 features adults-only dedicated spa services, bar menu and a comfortable lounge setting, the perfect exclusive venue to relax and unwind surrounded by incredible ocean vistas. Guests of Top 18 are greeted by an attendant with a refreshing chilled towel and escorted to their own personal lounge bed or relaxation pod. Misters and complimentary fruit skewers will be provided while guests can take advantage of specially tailored on-deck spa treatments without leaving the comfort of Top 18’s personal lounge beds. These include exclusive reflexology and facial treatments, as well as various head, neck and shoulder massages.
The MSC Yacht Club is a “ship-within-a-ship” for guests sailing the Caribbean looking for unparalleled indulgence, comfort and convenience. Featuring a personal butler, 24-hour concierge service and complimentary wines and spirits available any time of the day, guests booked in the MSC Yacht Club Suites are pampered throughout the MSC Yacht Club’s exclusive lounges and pool area. This oasis of premium tranquility provides several private venues, including Le Muse panoramic restaurant, Top Sail Lounge, pool and relaxation area as well as private access to the MSC Aurea Spa.
“This is just a sneak peek into several exciting announcements in store for North American travelers” said Muskat. “Soon, you will be able to experience the best kept secret in cruising as we bring MSC Divina, one of our newest and most beautiful vessels to this market.
Still, plan on a more European experience than a North American swing through the Caribbean.
“While we will always proudly maintain our authentic Mediterranean flare which appeals to so many travelers, the announcements made today express our continued commitment to tailoring MSC Divina’s excellent product to the tastes of this market,” concluded Muskat.
To celebrate MSC Divina’s arrival to PortMiami, guests who book between now and July 8, 2013 for sailings from April 12 to October 11, 2014 will receive up to a $200 per stateroom onboard credit to be used to enjoy our newly announced Eataly restaurants, first at sea Aqua Cycling classes or toward any other onboard purchases.
Bookings made in Suites or MSC Yacht Club will include a $200 per stateroom onboard credit and those in Balcony a $100 onboard credit based on double occupancy. Contact your preferred Travel Advisor, call MSC Cruises at 1-877-665-4655 or visit www.msccruisesusa.com to take advantage of this limited time offer.
MSC Divina features 1,751 staterooms, 322,900 square feet of public space, a casino, seven restaurants, 18 bars and lounges, five swimming pools (including an infinity pool), a bowling alley, theater, gym, spa, internet café, conference center, kids and teen areas, and the lines signature ship within a ship, MSC Yacht Club.
Photos- MSC Cruises
Flickr photo by Jota_BRAZIL