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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

MSC Cruises Expanding Into New England And Canada

European line MSC Cruises' expansion into the North American market will continue in 2010 with its first voyages to Canada and New England.

MSC Cruises USA president and CEO Rick Sasso says the MSC Magnifica, a new vessel scheduled to debut in early 2010, will sail to New York in the fall of 2010 for a series of cruises to and from Quebec City in Canada. The 2,550-passenger ship then will head to Fort Lauderdale to join another MSC ship, the Lirica, for the 2010-11 Caribbean season.

Sasso says the company sees the heavily populated Northeast as a lucrative marketplace for its Italian-run ships. And it's eyeing the region's Italian-American market, in particular, he says.

"There are a lot of Italians in the Northeast," notes Sasso, who spoke this weekend during the U.S. debut of the MSC Orchestra. "We think our Italian heritage will bold well for us."

The Magnifica will be one of the first MSC ships with a magrodome -- a retractable roof over the swimming pool that should appeal to cruisers heading to sometimes chilly Canada. The ship also boasts balconies with 80% of cabins, a strong selling point for leaf peepers on fall New England cruises.

Sasso says the Magnifica will set sail for the USA on Sept. 4, 2010 from Venice. After an 18-night trans-Atlantic journey to New York City that includes a call in Bermuda, it will depart Sept. 22 on its first New England and Canada cruise: A 10-night roundtrip voyage that calls in Sydney, Charlottetown, Quebec, Halifax and Newport.

The Magnifica then will sail a series of seven-night, one-way voyages in October between New York City and Quebec City that include stops in Halifax, Charlottetown and other coastal towns in Canada and New England. The series ends with a nine-night voyage from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale departing Oct. 23 and calling in Sydney, Boston, Newport and New York City.

The one-way itineraries can be combined to become longer, 14- or 16-night voyages.


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