New MSC Ship to be Based in Miami


MSC Cruises announced today that the first of its next generation Seaside class of ships — set to debut in November 2017 — will be named MSC Seaside and sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean.

In addition, MSC Cruises announced that its Miami-based cruise operations will benefit from a newly renovated and expanded dedicated berth and terminal at PortMiami. Previously rumors had the ship being based in New York or Miami.

Following the first ship’s delivery from the shipyard, MSC Seaside will make her way to Miami for MSC Cruises’ first ever christening ceremony in the U.S. to take place in late 2017.

“The Seaside class of ships is part of MSC Cruises’ $5.3 billion fleet expansion plan that will allow the company to double its capacity by 2022,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. “Today is a very exciting day for the company as this is the first major announcement related to the company’s new builds and demonstrates our enthusiasm and long-term commitment to continuing to expand our presence in North America.”

With a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons and the ability to accommodate up to 4,140 guests at double occupancy, it will be the largest ship in the MSC fleet.

“MSC Cruises has the unique opportunity to provide North American guests with a ‘Mediterranean Style Cruise’ experience that no other line is able to offer, and guests from around the world a unique setting as it sails to the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean” added Onorato.

“Since bringing MSC Divina to Miami in November 2013, we’ve seen significant demand from consumers in the product, excellent support from our travel agent partners and the growing need for additional MSC Cruises’ ships in the market.”

The company also announced a new waterpark aboard with the following features, from the press release:

In an industry first, MSC Seaside will add to the thrills of traditional waterpark fun by offering guests the chance to participate in “Slideboarding™” – a unique waterslide and interactive video game all-in-one. Guests race down a two-story, 367 foot slide on a sleekly designed raft that includes an embedded game controller with colored buttons. The end goal – match the color of the flashing strobe lights seen on various sections of the slide with the colored buttons on the raft. The slide uses a smart gaming system that knows who riders are and tracks their progress and scores over the run down the waterslide.

Duelling High-Speed AquaTubes™
In a high energy competitive setting, guests race against other guests through a combined 525 feet of twists, turns and drops, on slides that partially extend over the side of the ship and give riders a look a quick look at the sea below.
AquaPlay™& AquaSpray™
To cater to its youngest guests, a portion of MSC Seaside’s aqua park will be designed specifically for tots, featuring an active and colorful water play structure that is an experience all on its own. The AquaPlay™ area will be complete with tipping buckets, various spray cannons, solid stream jets, a raintree and a mini-slide.

In addition, various interactive AquaSpray™ activities, such as jets, falls, forts and more will be found throughout the water park for all ages to enjoy.

Adventure Trail
Directly connected to the aqua park is the Adventure Trail, a ropes course which allows guests to cross-cross between soaring towers, rope bridges, climbs, crawl-throughs and slides as they enjoy an amazing bird’s eye view of the water. Explorers on the trail will need to move quickly though as guests below will be able to use water spray cannons to soak their friends and family.


Royal Caribbean Announces 2016 Europe and Alaska

Royal Caribbean International today announced new 2016 Europe vacations, totaling eight of the region’s cruise ships that will sail from six European homeports and call at 80 destinations in 27 countries throughout the Mediterranean, Canary Islands, Scandinavia and the Baltic.

Four of the Europe ships will be new to the region, and Royal Caribbean’s third Oasis-class ship, Harmony of the Seas, will sail its inaugural season from Barcelona, while Independence of the Seas returns to Southampton.

The Explorer of the Seas will make history as the largest cruise ship to ever sail in Alaska, and join Radiance of the Seas for the cruise line’s 27th consecutive season in the region.

After its delivery in May 2016 the Harmony of the Seas, will homeport at Barcelona and sail a round-trip, seven-night Western Mediterranean itinerary. Vacationers also can embark Harmony of the Seas at Rome (Civitavecchia), but guests must sail round-trip for seven nights.

Brilliance of the Seas also will alternate 12-night Italian Mediterranean and Greek & Italian Mediterranean cruises.

The U.K. welcomes back Independence of the Seas in summer 2016. The ship will sail mostly 10- to 14-night Mediterranean or Canary Island cruises from Southampton, while Navigator of the Seas will offer British vacationers a wide range of new six- to 14-night Norwegian Fjords, Baltic, Mediterranean or Canary Island itineraries.

Serenade of the Seas will sail seven-night Norwegian Fjords and seven- to 13-night Scandinavia and Russia itineraries, round-trip from Copenhagen, Denmark, in early summer and August, and from Stockholm, Sweden, in June and July.

Jewel of the Seas will alternate brand new 10-night Greece & Adriatic and 11-night Greece, Turkey & Croatia itineraries from Venice, while Vision of the Seas will alternate seven-night Greek Isles and Greek Isles & Turkey cruises. Jewel of the Seas will double the cruise line’s capacity at this unique, iconic and most desirable world-class city.

Rhapsody of the Seas will homeport at Rome (Civitavecchia) and sail nine-night Greek Isles cruises in early summer and autumn months. From late June through August, the ship will alternate seven-night Greek Isles and Greek & Turkey cruises.

Explorer of the Seas will meanwhile debut in Alaska. Guests on the ship’s seven-night round-trip itineraries from Seattle, Wash. In September, the ship will sail three Pacific Coastal cruises, seven nights in duration, which feature an overnight in San Francisco, Calif.

The Radiance of the Seas will alternate seven-night northbound and southbound Alaska cruises between Vancouver, B.C., and Seward. On these itineraries, guests will venture into Disenchantment Bay for a close-up view of Hubbard Glacier.

Aurea Suite with Balcony Baby Club - Chicco Junior Club - Lego La Pergola Restaurant MSC Armonia in Genoa




London, 18 November 2014

MSC Armonia, the first of four MSC cruise ships to be enlarged and enhanced under the Renaissance Programme, was re-launched in Genoa today before a 10-day -inaugural cruise to the Canary Islands.

Hundreds of journalists and travel industry representatives boarded MSC Armonia as MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato unveiled the ship’s range of sensational new options and features.

Mr Onorato told a press conference in the ship’s Business Centre: “I’m very proud of what we and our partners at Fincantieri have achieved with MSC Armonia. Not only is the ship smarter and more spacious, but we have given it a new lease of life that will appeal to experienced cruise travellers and first-timers.

The €200m Renaissance Programme is the first step in a €5bn fleet enlargement plan, which includes four new ships in two innovative classes, to be delivered by STX France and Fincantieri, in Italy, between 2017 and 2019, with options for three more by 2022.

In 2004, MSC Cruises carried 80,000 guests a year; today the company has grown by 800% and the number of guests carried reaches 40,000 a day. The fleet’s capacity is on course to be doubled by 2022, meaning 3.4 million people holidaying with MSC Cruises every year.

The new-look MSC Armonia has more balcony cabins, more spacious common areas, flexible new dining options and new dedicated clubs for younger guests of all ages. The ship also has a stunning new outdoor Spray Park – a fun-filled wet zone with interactive jets, slides and ingenious water features.

MSC Armonia is also the first cruise ship in the world to feature tailor-made areas for children that have been officially designed, equipped and endorsed by Chicco and LEGO.

All these enhancements add an impressive complement to MSC Armonia’s existing amenities, such as two open-air swimming pools, distinctive restaurants and bars and the beautiful Fenice Theatre.

Key new features:

• 94 beautifully appointed balcony cabins
• Redesigned restaurants and bars; buffet open 20 hours a day
• 20 hours of spectacular entertainment daily
• Separate Baby (0-3); Mini (3-6); Juniors (7-11); Young (12-14); and Teens (15-17) clubs.
• Baby Club designed and equipped by market-leading childcare company, Chicco®
• Playroom designed and equipped by the world’s favourite toy producer, LEGO®
Inaugural cruise

MSC Armonia sets sail from Genoa, Italy tomorrow (19 November) for a 10-day itinerary ending at Las Palmas, in the Canary Islands. It will call at Marseille, Cartagena, Gibraltar, Cadiz, Funchal, Santa Cruz de La Palma and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Guests have all opted for one of the three MSC Cruises’ experiences available, according to their level of need: “Bella”, covering the fundamentals; “Fantastica” offering added luxury and the high-end “Aurea” experience, combining wellness treatments and all-inclusive beverages.

For the inaugural sailing MSC Cruises has laid-on a one-off programme of in-port entertainment, with dancers and musicians, gifts for guests and firework displays in Marseille and Tenerife. Celebrations on board include a special gala dinner and spectacular theatre performances.

Guests can also watch a fascinating documentary explaining the remarkable engineering feat behind MSC Armonia’s Renaissance Programme transformation, which will also be undertaken by sister ships MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica. The Renaissance Programme is due to be completed in November 2015.

After the inaugural cruise, the renewed MSC Armonia will be deployed for a winter season of seven-night cruises to must-see destinations en route to the Canary Islands and Morocco.

Prices lead in at £449 per person (two sharing), based on a December 13 departure and including return British Airways flights from London to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. (; 020 3426 3010).

MSC Cruises has compiled an exhaustive range of shore excursions that really take MSC travellers to the heart of the places visited. Among them are many city tours, including in Aix-en-Provence, Cartagena and Cadiz; a guided tour of Seville’s gothic cathedral – the world’s third largest church – or a visit to the wine cellars of Jerez de la Frontera to learn about the famous Jerez sherry.

Full details of shore excursions can be found here.


A Review Of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Of The Seas

November 7, 2014 by Paul Kelly


Quamtum-Of-the-Seas-north-starRoyal Caribbean’s new Smart Ship, Quantum of the Seas, The world’s most anticipated cruise ship, Sailed on a two day inaugural cruise from Southampton on the 31st October 2014 and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak before any paying customers boarded.

Take your top ten holidays and combine every stand out feature and moment from them. Take all of the bars, casinos and clubs you loved. The shopping and spa breaks you adored. The theme parks and carnivals you have went wild for and I will bet Quantum of the Seas has even more.


Quantum of the Seas. The ship that promises everything, and delivers.

I rushed off the coach, eager to test out the new 10 minute shore to ship procedure and was greeted by one of the many staff at the port of Southampton, all waiting to greet the first guests. There were two options, one for those who had completed the online check in, which was me, and one for those who had not. For the guests who had not completed the online check in there was an area that even at this early hour of the morning was already becoming crowded, so I would highly recommend that you complete this step, it takes less than five minutes to do and will save you time in the long run.

For the lucky few who like me had check in we had a quick scan of the boarding cards and were sent through the cruise terminal into what, on previous cruises would have been the holding area, but not this time. Inside I was handed my temporary Ship Sea Card and ushered through the spiraling walkway towards the ship, and I have to be honest I was feeling excited.  At the top of the walkway I was met by the Royal Caribbean security team and Guest Relations staff welcoming me onboard Quantum of the Seas – With time to spare. It had taken exactly nine minutes from shore to ship!

First Impressions

If the fresh smell of paint and new carpets didn’t give it away then the German ship builders milling around certainly did. The ship was not 100% ready, but that didn’t bother or surprise me. After all this was a pre-launch cruise, being used to get everything perfect for the main event – The Quantum Of The Seas naming ceremony, taking place in New York on the 9th of November.

I entered on deck five, into the very heart of the ship and the center of the Royal Esplanade, Royal Caribbean’s newest public area. To my right I can see the familiar Sorrento’s pizzeria along with Michaels Genuine Pub along with a host of chic bars and restaurants. To my left I can see Jamie Oliver’s – Jamie’s Italian and Vintages wine bar, all of which I knew I would see in plenty more detail later.

For now it was time to check out my stateroom or cabin if you prefer.  Just you’re standard cabin on deck eight which would have a very affordable lead in price of €700 per person on a seven night Caribbean sailing.

It was a decent-sized room with a genuinely spacious balcony area with a sun lounger, two sun chairs and table. The flatscreen TV was hung on the wall directly on front of the bed features dedicated Royal Caribbean channels along with a handful of normal and local channels (Depending on what port you are in) as well as a range of the latest released movies and shows, but I had no intention of spending my time watching TV.

If you are lucky enough to have more cash than me (Which probably wouldn’t be too hard) then you should definitely look at staying in the Grand Loft Suite, Visualize a high end Manhattan apartment, now add in a stunning sea view and your close. Situated at the very back of the ship, this two story loft consists of an enormous downstairs living space along with a wonderful full width balcony, but it’s when you walk upstairs it really impressive. A bed fit for a king sits high above the living area, complete with a TV that drops down from the ceiling, and then you notice the view, a clear view out the 20ft high panoramic windows looking at the trail being left behind as the ship gently moves you onto your next destination. All this could be your – for just under €8000 per week.

The upper outside decks look and feel very much like other Royal Caribbean vessels – a nice place to relax by the one of the many pools or bars having your favorite cocktail, or for those who like to keep fit by running the almost half mile running track. That is of course except for the first at sea North Star, iFly and Seaplex areas and if you are cruising with kids/teenagers this is no doubt where they will be spending most of their time.

The Royal Esplanade – Decks four and five – have your high end designer shops, such as Cartier and Michael Kors, it also has your duty free shops and some restaurants where you can get a quick snack, such as Sorrento’s pizzeria and Michaels Genuine Pub, and left we forget another first at sea – Royal Caribbean’s Bionic Bar. Go along to deck five and meet their newest staff members B1 and N1, there is not a drink these guys can’t make you and its great fun to watch.


Royal Caribbean have introduced My Time dining onboard quantum of the Seas, and I have to be honest I’m not totally sold on the idea. For me personally I love the fact that on all my previous cruises I had a main dining option, either early or late sitting. This would be when my family and I got to meet other guests and build friendships – Then there is formal gala night. Where we could don the Tux’s and fancy dresses to enjoy a magical night – how often do you really get to do this? These to me seem to be getting lost with My Time dining – Again this is just my personal feeling and I am sure there will be guests out there who will love the flexibility it offers.

Jamie’s Italian: I loved this place, although I only got to try the taster menu that in itself was mouth watering and left me wanting more. The décor was really well designed and the staff couldn’t be more helpful. The menu is comprehensive and should have something for everyone.

Quamtum-Of-the-Seas-michaels-genuine-pubMichaels Genuine Pub: If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat I highly recommend this place. The food and atmosphere is amazing, and service was fast.

Two70 Café: Great views, and a nice place to relax over a small breakfast or lunch. Menu in the morning was quite small – Bagels, Breakfast burritos, cereals, coffee & muffins.

The Grande: this is the formal restaurant, so if you’re in the mood to really dress up and enjoy some amazing food this is the place. I highly recommend the Escargot to start and the Lobster tail for mains – Delicious.

The Windjammer Café: for those who have cruised with Royal Caribbean you will remember this café, it features on all royal Caribbean vessels and really does have something for everyone. Buffet style dining open for Breakfast, Lunch, dinner and very late snacks.



Vintages: If you like your wine, then this is the place for you. The setting is completely chilled out, where you can have your favorite wine from around the globe.

Casino Bar: Always busy, day or night – I have a feeling this is because it is the main indoor are that allows smoking but when the games open the atmosphere is electric especially if you’re lucky enough to be on a hot streak – Best of luck.

Boleros: Fancy some Latin dancing mixed with some champagne or cocktails then this is your place. You can salsa until sunrise if you want and you’re guaranteed to have fun doing it.

Music Hall: My favorite –a two level venue that in the early part of the evening has an amazing live band playing – sing along with some of the classics or dance till you drop and that’s before the band finishes up and the DJ kicks in. This is the place to be after dark.

Two70: You have to get to this bar at least once while you’re onboard. It’s another first at sea from Royal Caribbean. The Two70 bar hosts the amazing show Star Water along with a breathtaking 12k resolution HD screen which transforms throughout the night.


Quamtum-Of-the-Seas-vitality-spaVitality Spa: There is no better way to unwind on holiday than spoiling yourself with some relaxing beauty treatments – from teeth whitening to Botox this place has it all, and the prices are extremely reasonable.

The Solarium: I have a feeling this will be an adult’s only area and I hope I am correct as this place is pure relaxation bliss with a stunning ocean view. Kick back with your favorite book and forget about all of life’s worries.


Quantum of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s first ‘Smart Ship’. The idea behind this is not only will you have the best connectivity that’s ever been available on a cruise ship, but you can also organize your entire cruise holiday online. Booking your dining shows and activities through an interactive app – It sure beats the hour long queues normally associated with checking in for a cruise holiday. Each guest is given the new WOW wristband – Powered with RFID technology, which replaces the old keycard guests are more accustomed to. These wristbands are used for almost everything onboard, from getting into your room to ordering drinks.

Unfortunately for this sailing the wifi was well, let’s call it patchy but this will, we were assured, be sorted out when the ship arrives in New York and has access to the 03b satellite. Royal Caribbean has promised that this technology will also be available on Anthem of the seas, the next Quantum class Ship when it starts sailing from Southampton in 2015, We will just have to wait and see if this is the case.

Conclusion: Quantum of the Seas is without a doubt one of the most well designed and technologically advanced cruise ship in the world. It really does offer something for everyone and I think when her sister anthem starts to sail out of Southampton on a permanent basis it will be hugely popular for the European cruise market.


Quantum Of The Seas 2 Day Countdown: 2 First At Sea Activities

Royal Caribbean will continue the tradition of delivering a ground breaking line-up of onboard experiences never before imagined at sea, including:

RipCord by iFly

The first skydiving experience at sea which allows everyone from first-time flyers to seasoned skydivers — to enjoy the sheer thrill and exhilaration of skydiving in a safe, controlled environment


Experience the exhilaration of skydiving without ever leaving the deck onboard Quantum of the SeasSM and Anthem of the SeasSM, courtesy of RipCord by iFly®. For the first time ever, feel what it’s like to fly, as you float on air within the safe confines of this groundbreaking simulator. It’s a whole new thrill for thrill seekers of all kinds.


North Star

An engineering marvel that takes guests to new heights in a jewel-shaped glass capsule that gently rises more than 300 feet in the air, taking guests on a spectacular journey and delivering awe-inspiring, 360-degree views


Leave it to Royal Caribbean International to literally and figuratively take you to a higher place. One of Quantum class’ most anticipated features, the exclusive North StarSM promises to elevate you both physically and emotionally, revealing 360-degree views of a world you’ve truly never seen before! Simply step into the North StarSM intimate, jewel-shaped capsule and gently ascend over 300 feet above sea level, where you can take in breathtaking views of the ocean, the ship, and the exciting destinations that we visit.

Royal Caribbean Set to Launch Terminal Dedicated for Quantum in New Jersey

Earlier today Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey dedicated the new cruise terminal at a small gathering at Cape Liberty Cruise Port, which will be the home for Quantum of the Seas starting on November 10.

Royal Caribbean Cruises President and COO Adam Goldstein and Vice President of Port Operations Juan Trescastro along with Bayonne Mayor James Davis, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Director of Port Commerce Richard Larrabee dedicated the new cruise terminal to Art on the Working Waterfront.

Together, the gentlemen unveiled 10 photographs that capture the unique energy and character of historic New York Harbor through the eyes of photographer and International Longshoreman Association-member John Bacaring.

Continue reading…

Quantum Of The Seas Delivered to Royal Caribbean

Today in Bremerhaven, Meyer Werft delivered the 167,800-gt cruise ship Quantum of the Seas to Royal Caribbean.

The first ship of the Quantum class sets new standards in terms of eco-friendliness. It features highly energy-efficient systems, optimised hydrodynamics, heat recovery, an effective underwater paint coating, a state-of-the-art exhaust gas treatment plant (hybrid scrubber) as well as energy-saving LED lighting systems, according to a statement released by Meyer Werft.