Landmark Year for MSC Cruises in 2008-09

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, April 30 – With two major additions to its growing modern fleet and an expanded variety of itineraries, 2008-09 will be a landmark year for MSC Cruises. MSC Cruises will add two new ships to its fleet in 2008, including the newest in its Musica class of Panamax vessels and its largest ship ever. Plus, one of the line’s newest ships, MSC Orchestra, will join MSC Lirica sailing Caribbean waters during the 2008-09 Caribbean season.

Sister ship to MSC Musica and MSC Orchestra, MSC Poesia is slated for spring delivery. The ship is 89,600 gross registered tons, 961 feet long and 108 feet wide and can host 2,550 guests (double occupancy). Like its sister ships, MSC Poesia will have more than 236,800 square feet of public space and 80% of the outside staterooms will have balconies. On April 12, 2008 MSC Poesia will begin sailing 7-night Eastern Mediterranean roundtrip itineraries from Venice, calling at Bari, Katakalon, Izmir, Istanbul and Dubrovnik.

The line’s largest ship ever, MSC Fantasia, is scheduled to be delivered in the latter part of 2008. She will sail alternating Canary Island and Egypt itineraries. MSC Fantasia is first of two post-Panamax ships on order by the cruise line. MSC Fantasia and sister ship MSC Serenata (scheduled to debut in 2009) will be the largest ships commissioned by a European ship owner to date. At 133,500 gross registered tons, 1,093 feet long, and 125 feet wide, each will have a passenger capacity of 3,900 and 1,313 staff members.

Also featured in the Italian-style cruise line’s exciting 2008 plan are the following:

  • Year-round Mediterranean sailings – All of the fleet’s 10 ships will be in the Mediterranean at some time in 2008, reaffirming MSC Cruises as a leader in the market. As a result of MSC Cruises extensive presence in the region, guests can depart on their MSC Cruises experience from almost any Mediterranean port the line visits.
  • Variety in Mediterranean itineraries – This includes cruises of varying lengths (from weekend cruises to 11-night itineraries) and port calls. In addition to the MSC Fantasia and MSC Poesia, the following will be available:
  • MSC Orchestra will sail 11-night Eastern/Western winter itineraries from Genoa and 7-night summer itineraries from Barcelona or Genoa, visiting Naples, Palermo, Tunis, Palma and Marseille.
  • MSC Musica – After completing the 2007-08 winter season with 11-night roundtrip sailings from Genoa, the ship will sail 7-night Eastern Mediterranean roundtrips from Venice beginning March 16, 2008, visiting the beautiful Greek islands of Katakolon, Santorini, Mykonos, Piraeus and Corfu as well as Bari and Dubrovnik.
  • MSC Sinfonia will return to the Mediterranean from its winter in South America to sail 7-night Western Mediterranean roundtrip itineraries from Genoa or Rome beginning in March, calling at Monte Carlo, Spain, Malta, Tunisia.
  • MSC Melody will return from South African waters to sail 7-night roundtrip cruises from Barcelona or Rome, calling at Ibiza, Tunis, Messina, Livorno and Monte Carlo.
  • The line’s other classic vessel, MSC Rhapsody, will offer 7-night Western Mediterranean roundtrip itineraries from Genoa from March to October that features four Italian ports of Livorno, Salerno, Taormini and Sardinia along with Malta and Tunisia.
  • MSC Armonia will spend the fall of 2008 sailing 11-night Eastern Mediterranean itineraries from Genoa to Egypt or the Black Sea.
  • Both MSC Opera and MSC Lirica will be sailing 7-night itineraries in Mediterranean waters in the fall of 2008, with MSC Opera sailing the Greek islands and Dubrovnik from Trieste and MSC Lirica from Genoa and Rome, calling at France, Spain and Morocco.

Three ships sailing in Northern Europe – The line will continue to have three ships in Northern Europe, maintaining its popular variety of cruise lengths and itineraries.

  • MSC Lirica and MSC Opera will sail alternating 7-night Norwegian Fjords and Baltic Capitals itineraries.
  • In addition, MSC Armonia will offer 10- and 11-night cruises as well as four sailings to the exciting Cape North.

Three ships in South America – Guests can embark in Rio de Janeiro, Santos or Buenos Aires on a variety of cruise lengths and itineraries. MSC Opera will sail 3- to 8-night itineraries from Santos, while MSC Sinfonia sails 8- to 9-night itineraries from Buenos Aires and MSC Armonia sails 4- to 9-night itineraries from Rio.

Two ships, including one of the line’s newest in the Caribbean – The winter 2008-09 Caribbean season will mark the first time one of the line’s 89,600-ton Musica class Panamax vessels arrives in Fort Lauderdale. MSC Orchestra will depart Genoa Dec. 15, 2008 on a 18-night Christmas/New Year�s transatlantic cruise, arriving in Fort Lauderdale Jan. 2, 2009. On Jan. 3, 2009, she will begin sailing 7-night alternating roundtrip Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale. The ship will join MSC Lirica, which will sail 10-night Deep Caribbean and Panama itineraries during the winter 2008-09 season. Both MSC Lirica�s itineraries and MSC Orchestra�s Eastern Caribbean itinerary feature the line�s private island experience, Cayo Levantado in the Dominican Republic.

And there’s much more, including the classic MSC Melody sailing in South Africa and a variety of transatlantic and repositioning cruises that offer unique onboard experiences and destinations to create a truly cultural experience.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit www.msccruises.com or a local travel professional.