Another major cruise brand unveils plans to restart US departures

Jun 7, 2021

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Add MSC Cruises to the list of major cruise lines announcing a resumption of sailings out of U.S. ports.

The world’s third-biggest cruise brand late Monday said it would restart departures out of PortMiami on Aug. 2 with a single ship, the 4,500-passenger MSC Meraviglia.

The line said a second MSC Cruises vessel, the 3,502-passenger MSC Divina, would resume sailings out of Port Canaveral, Florida, on Sept. 16.

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The announcement came in the wake of the CDC approving MSC Cruises to conduct a simulated “test cruise” out of Miami with MSC Meraviglia on July 17 — a precursor to resuming sailings with paying passengers.

“After what has been a challenging period, we’re thrilled to say it’s finally time to cruise again,” MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “We are excited to be officially announcing our restart this summer from the U.S., and Florida in particular, as excitement is building for vacationers to get back to traveling and plan a much-deserved getaway.”

MSC Cruises said MSC Meraviglia initially would operate three- and four-night sailings out of Miami to the Bahamas. It’ll switch to seven-night itineraries to the Bahamas and Caribbean on Sept. 18, the line said.

MSC Divina will operate three-, four- and seven-night cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean.

MSC Cruises didn’t announce specifics of the itineraries but said they all would include a stop at the line’s new private island in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. More details are coming, the line said.

The sailings won’t be available for booking until June 16.

All of the sailings will be open to passengers both vaccinated and unvaccinated for COVID-19.

As part of its announcement, MSC Cruises said it was canceling several dozen summer sailings currently on the books for MSC Divina, MSC Meraviglia and a third ship, MSC Armonia, including:

  • Departures on MSC Divina out of Port Canaveral from July 1 through Sept. 15.
  • Departures on MSC Meraviglia out of Miami from July 1 through Sept. 17.
  • Departures on MSC Armonia out of Miami from July 1 through Oct. 24.

MSC Cruises already has restarted sailings out of Italy with two ships and sailings out of the U.K. (for U.K. passengers only) with one ship. It plans to restart Mediterranean and Northern Europe sailings with seven more vessels by Aug. 1. 

MSC Cruises is the world’s third-largest cruise line by passenger capacity. Its return to cruising in Europe and now the United States signals that the cruise industry is finally exiting lockdowns that were the result of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Featured image courtesy of MSC Cruises

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