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MSC Cruises launching 10 ships in Europe this summer

MSC Cruises will launch 10 ships in Europe this summer, adding more confirmed itineraries that offer a breadth of embarkation options to enable more close-to-home cruise options.

The brand will also introduce a new private beach experience in the Puglia region of Italy exclusively for use by MSC Seaside passengers. The destination will offer a sandy beach experience in Taranto on the Ionian Sea.

MSC will not implement a vaccine requirement for its sailings, saying it will operate with the same health and safety protocols it has been using on sailings since launching in August 2020, on which it carried more than 60,000 passengers.

Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, said in a statement that the itineraries reflect which European destinations and ports are expected to be open this summer, "so that guests can book their holidays with us with confidence." He also expressed confidence that in the coming weeks MSC will put more ships on Europe itineraries, particularly in Spain and France, as more ports reopen.

"And to make it even easier and safer for our guests to reach our ships from closer to their homes, all our itineraries will feature additional ports of embarkation," Onorato said. "In the Mediterranean alone, MSC Cruises will offer its guests up to 15 ports of embarkation.

Three ships will offer Western Mediterranean sailings calling in Italy and Malta, including the MSC Grandiosa which has been sailing seven-day Italy and Malta itineraries and will add Barcelona and Valencia, Spain, once those destinations confirm availability. The MSC Seaside will launch service May 1 from Genoa, Italy, and include calls at the new-to-MSC ports of Syracuse, Sicily, and the private destination in Taranto on an itinerary that will add Marseille, France, once availability is confirmed.

The MSC Seashore, under construction and expected to join the fleet at the end of July, will offer Mediterranean cruises from Aug. 1 until Oct. 31, with seven-day cruises in Italy, Malta, Spain and France, before deploying to Miami in November to launch Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries.

MSC will also deploy three ships in the Eastern Mediterranean, calling in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro, embarking from Trieste, Venice and Bari, Italy, as well as Athens. The MSC Orchestra will launch June 5; the MSC Splendida June 12; and the MSC Magnifica June 20.

MSC previously said its newest ship, the MSC Virtuosa, would launch its inaugural season in the U.K., on sailings open only to U.K. residents.

MSC plans to base three ships In Germany, but delayed the start of the season there to June 15 due to uncertainty regarding the reopening of local ports. The three ships plan to offer seven-day and longer itineraries either to the Norwegian fjords or the Baltic capitals, with the MSC Seaview in Kiel, starting June 19, the MSC Preziosa launching from Hamburg June 21 and the MSC Musica from Warnemunde June 20, if the ports are open.

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