MSC CRUISES TO DOUBLE PRESENCE IN CUBA, SENDING SECOND SHIP TO MEET RISING DEMAND FOR THE ISLAND’S UNIQUELY RICH CULTURE
MSC Armonia Will Join MSC Opera For Winter 2016–17, Offering Enriched
Geneva, 03 December 2015 – MSC Cruises, the Geneva, Switzerland-based global cruise line – number one in Europe, South America and South Africa – announced today it will further strengthen its presence in Cuba by homeporting a second ship in Havana from the winter 2016-17 season, to continue to meet rising demand for opportunities to experience the Caribbean island’s uniquely rich culture.
In a move that will quickly double the number of MSC Cruises Caribbean itineraries centred on Cuba, MSC Armonia will join MSC Opera in Havana, from November 2016, for the entire winter season.
MSC Armonia will sail two separate, culturally diverse, eight-day (seven-night) itineraries, adding an enhanced choice of must-see Central American and Caribbean destinations to the MSC Cruises portfolio.
Following two days and one night in the Cuban capital, the first itinerary will take guests from Havana to the white sand beaches, pristine bays and spectacular coral reefs of Isla de Roatan (Honduras), before heading for the wood and brick colonial charm of Belize City (Belize). Then it’s on to Costa Maya (Mexico) and an exclusive Caribbean beach experience on Isla de la Juventud (Cuba), before returning to Havana.
The second will start with two and half days and two nights in Havana, then set sail for Montego Bay (Jamaica), Georgetown (Cayman Islands) and Cozumel, on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, before circling back to the Cuban capital.
MSC Armonia’s presence in Cuba will also offer MSC Cruises guests the unique chance to combine both itineraries into one spectacular 14-night cruise.
In addition, the optimal position of Havana’s cruise terminal at the foot of the Ciudad Vieja, or Old Havana, a UNESCO-listed heritage site, allows for easy walking access from the ship to the local sights and a journey through history by visiting this fascinating barrio of Havana.
This month MSC Cruises will become the first global cruise line to homeport in Havana, from where MSC Opera will sail to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Mexico, with two and a half days and two nights in the Cuban capital.
And in December 2016, MSC Opera will sail its second Cuban winter, alongside MSC Armonia, offering eight-day (seven-night) cruises from Havana to Montego Bay (Jamaica), Georgetown (Cayman Islands), Cozumel (Mexico) and back to Havana.
MSC Cruises Chief Executive Officer Gianni Onorato said: “With no less than nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a long-held tradition of hospitality, Cuba has all the makings of a top world cruise destination. MSC Cruises is honoured to be able to support the further development of this huge potential, and we’re very thankful to the Cuban authorities for their ongoing cooperation in this regard.”
MSC Cruises’ guests come from more than 150 countries, hence the Company’s comprehensive international fly-and-cruise programme. And as a further response to mounting demand for MSC Cruises’ unique Cuban cruise holidays, already this year the Company is doubling its flight offer from key European cities, and introducing new flight operations from Canada and South America.
MSC Opera and MSC Armonia, and two other ships from MSC Cruises’ 12-strong fleet, recently underwent fully comprehensive refits under the Renaissance Programme, which was completed in November this year. The dry-dock work optimized the ships to serve key strategic global markets. As such, the renewed MSC Opera and MSC Armonia in particular are perfectly suited to provide the distinctive MSC Cruises experience across a range of Caribbean sailings, with Havana as homeport.
In addition to Cuba, MSC Cruises’ ever richer Caribbean offering includes year-round sailings from Miami on MSC Divina, and as of December 2017 on the Company’s next-generation cruise ship MSC Seaside. Furthermore, MSC Cruises also offers a wide range of seasonal itineraries in the Antilles and the West Indies from Guadeloupe or la Martinique.