Never one to stand still, MSC Cruises continues  to lead the way. They just announced the debut of their new pricing structure, “Inclusive Experiences,” which they’re rolling out in North America. Besides recently  announcing  the construction of four new ships,  MSC Cruises  has their $273 million Renaissance program in place. This involves the enlargement and enhancing of their four Lirica ships –  the MSC Armonia, the MSC Lirica, MSC Sinfonia and the MSC Opera. The MSC Armonia is the first to go through the Renaissance program.

MSC Armonia – literally split in two with the addition inserted

Exterior view of the MSC Armonia

Exterior view of the MSC Armonia. Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises

A 825 foot long and 58,600 gross registered ton ship, the MSC Armonia was taken to Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, Sicily where the prep work began on September 2.  Then steel cutting began. The MSC Armonia was literally cut in half, and separated into two sections. Completed on September 8, the next steps included inserting a 80 foot wide, pre-built section. The renovation of the rest of the MSC Armonia now begins. She’ll have nearly 200 new staterooms, along with some new amenities – a bigger restaurant and lounge facility, new buffet features, children’s clubs, a library, fancier spa and an aqua park.

Another part of the MSC Armonia’s renovation includes improvements to reduce her impact on the environment. A new hull treatment  will minimize drag to reduce fuel consumption. And installing a “variable speed drive inverter” will reduce the ship’s electricity consumption. LED technology is also going to be installed in all the public spaces.

Renaissance Program continues

The Renaissance Program will be completed in 2015.  MSC Armonia’s updates will be finished on November 17, 2014,  and she’ll re-enter service. The MSC Sinfonia’s drydock will be from January 12 to March 16, 2015, followed by the MSC Opera, which goes into drydock May 2 to July 4, 2015. And the MSC Lirica will go into drydock from August 31 to November 9, 2015. As noted, this represents a $273 million investment by MSC Cruises.

Debut of New Pricing – “Inclusive Experiences”

MSC Yacht Club Suite

MSC Yacht Club Suite. Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises

MSC Cruise just unveiled a new pricing structure for their cruises. Called “Inclusive Experiences” this new pricing bundles cabin categories, onboard amenities and dining choices into four different packages.  They range from a la carte to all-inclusive, and are available starting September 23 for cruises departing on October 18 and after.

While providing details in a recent webinar, Ken Muskat, Executive Vice President, Sales, PR, & Guest Services, explained, “This is not an add-on package; this is a new pricing that is all-inclusive or a semi-inclusive experience.”

The four “Inclusive Experiences” include The Bella Experience,  The Fantasia Experience,  The Aurea Experience and The Yacht Club Experience. MSC Cruises decided to roll out the experience pricing in North America after the positive feedback they received from guests and travel agent professionals when they  introduced this new pricing structure in most European markets.

The Four “Inclusive Experiences” – More Details

Balcony stateroom onboard the MSC Divina

Balcony stateroom onboard the MSC Divina. Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises

Bella Experience is for the value conscious travelers looking to enjoy a wide range of amenities and entertainment that MSC Cruises offers to all their guests. It’s simply the stateroom cost, and guests have the option of adding additional onboard services/amenities on an a la carte basis, like a spa or beverage package. Guests can book interior, oceanview or balcony staterooms.

The Fantasia Experience provides guests with additional flexibility, including selecting a premium location stateroom and priority choice as far as early or late dining.  More benefits include 50% off all fitness classes and personal training, as well as free delivery for room service. And there are enhanced recreational activities for children – cooking and foreign language classes, for instance.  Guests can book interior, oceanview or balcony staterooms. MSC Cruises is also offering a special promotion. Guests who book the Fantasia Experience on the MSC Divina for 7 night or longer sailings between October 18 through April 11, 2015 will also receive a beverage package.

The Aurea Experience includes several exceptional amenities, with a premium choice of balcony staterooms and suites, as well as dining in the main restaurant with “My Choice Dining” flexible times. Priority boarding, a beverage package consisting of unlimited non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, a spa package, and access to the exclusive adults only area on Top 18 sun deck are included  as well as ones in the Fantasia Experience.  The Aurea Experience is for guests who book Aurea balcony staterooms and suites.

Finally, the Yacht Club Experience is MSC Cruises’ “ship-within-a-ship” luxury, all-inclusive VIP club level package. Guests staying in the MSC Yacht Club  can enjoy a wide range of all-inclusive amenities, including 24 hour butler service, the exclusive Top Sail Lounge and Pool, the private MSC Yacht Club restaurant, complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available within the Yacht Club area, as well as priority check-in and check-out reception.

MSC Cruises and fits for your group

Aqua Park. Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises

Aqua Park. Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises lets guests enjoy the “Mediterranean way of life.”  A privately held, family owned Italian cruise line, MSC Cruises’  fleet of 12 ships provide diverse itineraries around the world with year round sailings in the Mediterranean.

The MSC Divina underwent an “Americanization” last fall along with the addition of some new features including the Eataly specialty restaurant along with  the cruise industry’s first water cycling at sea, Aqua Cycling. She began sailing from PortMiami on November 20, 2013 offering Caribbean cruises,  becoming their first ship dedicated to North American travelers. The MSC Divina will offer Mediterranean cruises spring 2015, but then will be back in the Caribbean fall of 2015.

With the new “Inclusive Experiences” pricing structure, your group members  can select  and choose an “experience” that matches the amenities and preferences  they desire while cruising. This simplifies  the planning process when organizing your group along with providing extra value inclusions.