Two if by Sea

MSC orders two new ships, offers 50 percent off

By: By Marilyn Green

MSC Cruises has announced its order of two additional ships from the Aker Yards France at St. Nazaire. The new ships — due for delivery in 2011 and 2012 — will be named MSC Meraviglia and MSC Favolosa and will be the fifth and sixth sister ships in the Musica class, at 93,000 tons and a capacity of 2,550 passengers.

The two ships will bring MSC’s fleet to 14 ships carrying more than 1.4 million passengers by 2012, and will complete the extraordinary development plan investing 5.5 billion euros between 2003 and 2009 for the construction of 10 ships. The strategy has allowed MSC to claim the title of fastest growing cruise line with the youngest fleet in the world (with most of the ships less than five years old).

The line currently has nine vessels in operation: the Poesia, Orchestra, Musica, Sinfonia, Opera, Armonia, Lirica, Melody and Rhapsody, offering cruises in the Mediterranean year round and seasonally in Northern Europe, Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, South America, the Indian Ocean and South Africa.

In the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009 the MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida will debut, followed by Magnifica in the fall of 2009 and the two ships that the line just ordered.

The company is celebrating the winter Caribbean season by offering a special value for baby boomers and seniors, who can save at least 50 percent when they cruise with children or grandchildren 17 and younger under the line’s Kids Sail Free policy.

Boomer/Senior Saver prices on all 2008-2009 Caribbean sailings of Lirica and Orchestra, both sailing roundtrip Fort Lauderdale, begin at $449 per person, double occupancy (cruise only, not including government fees and taxes and fuel surcharge) on seven-night itineraries. At least one guest in the stateroom must be 50 years of age on the departure date, and bookings must be made by May 1, 2009.