Travel

MSC Cruises confirms 2021 sailings with cutting-edge new ships, but 2020 shutdown extended

If you were still harbouring hopes of a cruise getaway this summer, the outlook isn’t great, but there’s better news for 2021.

MSC Cruises may have extended the fleet-wide halt of its cruise operation until July 31 2020, but it’s also confirmed that its summer programme for 2021, which begins next March, will include two exciting new ships currently under construction, the MSC Virtuosa and MSC Seashore (bringing the total fleet to 19), as well as revamped itineraries and new homeports.

All UK and Irish customers affected by cancellations will receive a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) for 125 per cent of their cruise value, which can then be used on any ship, for any itinerary through to the end of 2021. 

These credits can be used from June 21. Alternatively, thwarted holiday-makers can apply for a full refund, sans 25 per cent bonus.   

“While today we have taken the difficult decision to further extend the halt of operations of all our ships, it is important that we also look ahead as we know that our customers are dreaming of travel and are wanting to plan their holidays for next year,” says CEO Gianni Onorato.  

MSC plans to deploy all three of its Seaside-class ships together for the first time in the Western Mediterranean

MSC Virtuosa will be heading to the fjords in 2021

Looking forward to 2021, MSC plans to deploy all three of its Seaside-class ships together for the first time in the Western Mediterranean. The MSC Seaside, MSC Seaview and MSC Seashore have been designed for warmer weather sailings, with generous outdoor space.

MSC Seashore will come into service August 1 2021. The newcomer, which will offer the highest ratio of outdoor space per guest of any ship in the MSC fleet, will debut with the ‘Six Pearls’ itinerary, for visits to Pompeii, Naples; Messina, Sicily; Valletta, Malta; Barcelona, Spain and Marseille, France.

From May 8, MSC Virtuosa will spend her inaugural summer season offering cruises from the German port of Kiel, alternating between the fjords and the Baltic capitals.

Also new for 2021, MSC Divina will sail for the first time from Port Canaveral, Florida, a new homeport for the cruise line. As a result, packages will have an option to explore Orlando pre- or post-cruise.  

The MSC Seashore has the highest ratio of outdoor space

In related news, MSC has confirmed that MSC Meraviglia will offer 7-night cruises from Miami, while the classic MSC Armonia will offer new shorter 3-and 4-night getaways also from Florida.

All three will call at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve (pictured top), the private island in the Bahamas, exclusive to MSC Cruise guests.  The private island boasts two miles of beachfront and a wide selection of ocean activities including deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and kayaking.  

About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice, Ideal Home, The Luxe Review, Channel News and the i newspaper. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI, and contributor to industry trade magazine ERT. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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