MSC Cruises has flagged a return to Spanish soil with the Italian cruise line set to resume embarkations from Barcelona on 26 June 2021 and offering port calls from Valencia starting 30 July, aboard MSC Grandiosa.
The addition of the Spanish port operation follows MSC Cruises’ restart in Germany, France and the Baltics, on top of its current and other northern Summer 2021 confirmed itineraries in the West and East Mediterranean, as well as the UK.
Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises, said: “When we first announced our confirmed programs for summer 2021, we indicated that we would enrich them with any new ports and destinations as they became available. This is the case today with Spain and Barcelona, thus allowing our guests to visit this magnificent destination that has been unavailable since March of last year thanks to the secure bubble ashore excursions we provide under our health and safety operating protocol.
“This will also make an international cruise holiday on an MSC Cruises ship more easily available to more of our guests living in Spain and for the first time on one of our most modern and innovative ships, MSC Grandiosa.
“As measures are progressively relaxing across Europe and beyond and tourism resumes, we have every confidence that our progressive resumption of service will continue to move forward and that we will be able to add more ports and destinations from more countries to our itineraries very soon. This will allow us to either enrich existing itineraries or add new ones.”
MSC Grandiosa offers seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean with calls at Genoa, Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Palermo, Valetta in Malta and now Barcelona on Saturdays with embarkation in the Italian ports as well as Barcelona.
From 30 July, MSC Grandiosa will add Valencia to the itinerary with embarkation on Fridays and the ship will then offer from 31 July, seven-night itineraries calling Barcelona, Genoa, La Spezia for Florence and Pisa and Civitavecchia (Rome) and Valencia.
MSC Seaside is also sailing in the Mediterranean and since 20 May MSC Virtuosa is operating cruises around the British Isles for UK residents. MSC Seaview will restart voyages in the Baltics from Germany on 3 July.
MSC Grandiosa’s sailings from Barcelona, commencing 26 July, have now opened.
Meanwhile, MSC Cruises has received final approval to build and operate an exclusive cruise terminal at the Port of Barcelona. The multi-year concession includes the construction of a new facility that MSC Cruises will operate and manage for a period of 31 years.
The new terminal, which will feature shore power facilities and be ready for LNG bunkering operations, will also allow MSC Cruises to deploy more next-generation, environmentally-friendly ships in Barcelona. This includes MSC World Europa, the brand’s first LNG-powered cruise ship, which is currently under construction and due to enter service in 2022. Bookings for MSC World Europa opened last week.
The project represents €33 million by MSC Cruises. Construction will commence soon, with the new Barcelona terminal slated to be up and running by 2024.
MSC Cruises US restart
Meanwhile, MSC Cruises has been given the green light by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to trial a test cruise next month, ahead of a planned resumption of sailings from Florida.
MSC Meraviglia will operate a simulated voyage from PortMiami on 17 July 2021, opening the door for futures sailings from the same port on 2 August, initially a combination of three- and four-nights cruises to the Bahamas and including a day at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.
From 18 September 2021, MSC Meraviglia will then offer longer seven-night cruises from Miami, complemented by three-, four- and seven-night voyages aboard MSC Divinia to the Bahamas and Caribbean, operating roundtrip from Port Canaveral.
All US originating voyages will be available for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated passengers, with strict health protocols to be introduced.