MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and fourth largest global player in the industry, has announced that it has suspended remaining 2015 calls in Ukraine and Egypt, replacing them with a number of Mediterranean alternatives.
In response to clear market demand, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera, MSC Fantasia and MSC Musica will, from autumn 2015 to winter 2016, variously incorporate the Greek islands of Rhodes and Crete, as well as Cyprus and Israel into their sailings. These itinerary changes attest to MSC Cruises’ permanent focus on the safety of guests and crew – the number one priority at all times.
Enjoy the majestic coastline of the Black Sea and the city of Nesebar, where its abundance of historical buildings prompted UNESCO to assign it World Heritage Site status. Discover the culture and customs of Bulgaria at the beautiful ancient town of Sozòpol, a fascinating seaside town built on millennia of tumultuous history. MSC Sinfonia, as part of her two 12-night sailings out of Genoa, will call Burgas, Bulgaria, delivering guests to the doorsteps of these remarkable towns.
Travellers will discover the beauty of Rhodes, dubbed “the island of the Knights” after the Templars who once reigned there, and another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors will admire the ancient Grand Master Palace and the impressive archaeological site of Lindos. MSC Opera and MSC Fantasia will call Rhodes, Greece, the gateway to this Mediterranean paradise and eponymous capital of the island.
In addition, MSC Cruises is offering a taste of the cradle of Western civilisation when calling at Heraklion, the port that unlocks Crete’s myriad charms. Follow the path of the Minoans at the Knossos Palace whilst taking in the food and folklore of this breathtaking Aegean island. MSC Opera and MSC Fantasia will call Heraklion in autumn and winter 2015-2016, while MSC Sinfonia will call there during a Grand Voyage to Durban, South Africa, in November 2015. MSC Musica will also call in Crete on her own Grand Voyage from Dubai to Venice, in April 2016.
For a perfect blend of relaxation and mythology, take in the wonders of Aphrodite’s Rock, birthplace of the Greek goddess of love; or visit Apollo’s Temple and the ancient site of Pafos. For this, the port of call will be Limassol in Cyprus, a sunny destination all-year-round, where MSC Musica will call during her Grand Voyage to Dubai, in November 2015.
MSC Cruises’ offer is further enhanced with the opportunity to discover the Negev desert, the Dead Sea and the magnificence of the Fortress of Masada from the Israeli port of Eilat, which lies at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on the Gulf of Aqaba. MSC Sinfonia’s guests can enjoy the city and its surroundings as part of their Grand Voyage to Durban, this November.
“In addition to allowing MSC Cruises to offer an expanded range of destinations to our guests, whilst maintaining the spirit of the original itineraries, the changes announced also reflect the company’s ongoing focus on safety for passengers and crews alike – our number one priority at all times,” read an official statement. “Indeed, in light of the current geo-political situation, ports of call in Egypt and Ukraine unfortunately needed to be for the time being substituted until they are again perceived to be safest in the eyes of consumers. The new destinations also allow MSC Cruises to address market request for availability of an expanded range of destinations in the region to cruise guests.”