MSC Seaside To Leave Miami – Other Cruise News: Viking Expands At The Poles And In America
by Kevin Griffin
The MSC Seaside, which had been dedicated to the Miami cruise trade, is about to be sent back to Europe, where she will cruise from Genoa. The smaller MSC Armonia will now replace the Seaside in Miami. And MSC will enter the port Canaveral trade. Meanwhile, new expedition and Mississippi ships are planned to join Viking’s fleet of ocean and river cruise ship over the next few years.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
MSC Seaside To Leave Miami
Big changes are on the horizon for MSC Cruises’ Florida operations, including the line sailing out of Port Canaveral for the first time. In related news, MSC Seaside will be leaving America to sail Mediterranean itineraries out of Genoa.
Beginning in the summer of 2021, MSC Divina will relocate to Port Canaveral. From there, the ship will offfer a mixture of sailings ranging from 3-nights to 7-nights, with departures on Sundays and Thursdays.
The company is clearly hoping that this new-to-MSC-port will encourage people to combine land-and-sea adventures. After all, Port Canaveral is only a hop, skip and a jump away from Orlando, which is one of the most popular travel destinations in the country.
Cruisers will now have the option of doing a 3- or 4-night cruise on the Divina before or after a stop at, say, Walt Disney World, all while still staying within the typical 7-day range of a vacation.
Meanwhile, the MSC Meraviglia and MSC Armonia will also be sailing out of Florida, with both calling Miami home. And like Divina, all sailings on these ships will also make a stop at Ocean Cay.
Itinerary-wise, Meraviglia will do 7-night sailings which depart each Saturday. As for Armonia, the ship will do 3- and 4-night getaways, departing on Mondays and Fridays.
As for the MSC Seaside, which was introduced to the American market with much fanfare, she will be relocating to the Western Mediterranean in the summer of 2021.
In fact, all three of the line’s Seaside-class ships will head to the Mediterranean. This includes the still-under-construction Seashore, which is now expected to join the fleet on August 1, 2021, following delays at the shipyard.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Viking Expands At The Poles And In America
Viking Cruises started out as a European river operator and then expanded onto the oceans. And now it is making further moves into polar waters and the Great Lakes and Mississippi.
So far this year, the company has announced plans to launch two expedition ships and a US-flag river operation on the Mississippi.
The expedition ships would start cruising in January 2022 with the 378-berth Viking Octantis in Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes. A sister ship, Viking Polaris, is planned to follow in August 2022 and operate in the Arctic and Antarctica.
The 30,150-ton ships will be long and narrow—allowing them to sail through the St Lawrence Seaway and the Welland Canal, which connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie by bypassing Niagara Falls. Yet they will also provide good stability in rough polar seas.
Viking chairman Torsten Hagen said the Great Lakes will appeal to many of the company’s past guests. About 88 percent are from North America and some may be “reluctant to travel long distances.”
The program will include 8- to 13-night voyages between Milwaukee and Thunder Bay, Toronto and Milwaukee; and New York and Toronto. The inaugural Antarctic season of six departures is already sold out.
In late March, Viking announced its Mississippi plans with the 386-berth Viking Mississippi in August 2022. She will sail on the Lower and Upper Mississippi between New Orleans and St. Paul MN.
Under construction in Louisiana, the ship will have 193 outside staterooms, modern Scandinavian design, an infinity plunge pool and several restaurants.
Cruise fares will include a complimentary shore excursion in each port of call; all onboard meals; beer and wine with lunch and dinner; lectures; complimentary alternative dining; and free Wi-Fi. Bookings are now open.
Some features on Viking Mississippi will be familiar to those who have sailed on the company’s ocean voyages—including an infinity plunge pool and a two-story Explorers’ Lounge.
The 2022-23 inaugural voyages include an 8-day itinerary between St Louis and St Paul, an 8-day sailing between New Orleans and Memphis, an -8-day New Orleans round voyage, and a 15-day voyage between New Orleans and St Paul.
Over the past eight years, Viking has introduced more than sixty new river cruise ships and six ocean cruise vessels.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)