With travel restrictions still in place, MSC Cruises, like other cruise lines, recently announced it is extending its temporary pause on cruising through September 15, 2020. The line continues to work on its new operating protocol focusing on health and safety procedures, which it will be sharing in the future.

MSC Cruises has also announced it will resume shorter-term operations for the winter 2020/2021 season in phases. The line will be following guidance from key national and international health and regulatory authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Knowing that customers are looking forward to planning future cruises, MSC recently announced its March to November 2021 cruise program.

2021 Cruise Details

For the Caribbean, the MSC Meraviglia will be offering seven-night cruises from Miami on Saturdays starting March 2021. She had made her North American debut in October 2019 and was the line’s first next-generation ship featuring the new MSC for Me technology. This multi-channel digital program helps guests make the most of their vacation via a special app that lets them easily navigate around the ship, plan activities and stay connected. The MSC Meraviglia has six different full-scale theatrical productions and two Cirque du Soleil at sea shows, VIAGGIO and SONAR.

MSC Meraviglia

MSC Meraviglia

Starting March 2021, the MSC Armonia will be offering new three- and four-night getaway cruises departing from Miami on Fridays and Mondays. And she will be calling at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. The MSC Seaside  (starting in November 2020) and MSC Divina (starting in March 2021)  will sail for the first time from Port Canaveral, Florida, a new homeport for MSC Cruises. They will be offering a mix of three-, four- and seven-night cruises. With Port Canaveral being just an hour away from the Orlando area, guests can explore some new options with a pre- or post-cruise stay and extend their vacation experience.

MSC Cruises’ Private Island

MSC Cruises’ eco-friendly private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, opened in December 2019. MSC had signed a 100-year lease on this Bahamian island (about 65 miles south of Miami) and worked on the development for several years. Ships directly dock there.

Ocean Cay is surrounded by a protected marine area covering 64 square miles. The coral reef has been restored, and native plants have been reintroduced. These efforts have resulted in an increase in the marine life there.

Ocean Cay Pano Credit Conrad Schutt

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve (Credit: Conrad Schutt)

Ocean Cay features eight world-class beaches where guests can enjoy water activities and sunbathing, and drinks at the Lighthouse Bar. They can also explore the authentic Bahamian village and its shops. Junkanoo festivities run late into the evening.

The island is perfect for both adventure seekers as well as beachgoers. It includes 44 acres of exquisite white sand, and guests can snorkel, take a leisurely kayak trip or paddleboard.

The MSC Meraviglia, MSC Armonia and MSC Divina will be calling on Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.

Western Mediterranean Summer 2021

For the first time, MSC Cruises’ three innovative, award-winning Seaside-class ships will be deployed in the Western Mediterranean for the summer of 2021.  These are the MSC Seaside, MSC Seashore and MSC Seaview. They have been designed for warm weather and for bringing guests closer to the sea.

MSC Cruises’ newest ship, the MSC Seashore, will start service on August 1, 2021. The delay occurred due to the temporary closure of the shipyard where she is being built, a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The MSC Seashore will have the most outdoor space per guest of any ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet.

MSC Seashore Aurea Bar

MSC Seashore Aurea Bar

Joined by her sister ships, the MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, the MSC Seashore will be homeported in Genoa, sailing on seven-night cruises that include ports of Pompeii; Naples; Messina, Sicily; Valletta, Malta; Marseille, France; and Barcelona, Spain.

In late summer 2021, the MSC Poesia will be sailing on nine- to 12-night cruises from Genoa, Italy.

Eastern Mediterranean Sailings

For summer 2021, the brand new MSC Lirica will be deployed from Venice, Italy, with embarkations at Trieste. Also, four other ships—the MSC Opera, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Orchestra and MSC Musica—will be sailing on seven-night cruises departing from Venice, with calls in Croatia, Montenegro and the Greek islands.

Northern Europe Itineraries

MSC Cruises will offer a wide range of cruise itineraries in Northern Europe. The MSC Virtuosa will start sailing on May 8, 2021 with an inaugural summer season of seven- to 14-night cruises from Kiel, Germany. She will alternate between the Baltic capitals and Norwegian fjords. The MSC Magnifica will sail from Southampton on seven-night cruises to the Norwegian fjords, plus 12-night cruises to the Canary Islands, 14-night cruises to the Baltic islands, and then a seven-night cruise to Hamburg, Zeebrugge, Rotterdam and Le Havre.

The MSC Preziosa will be offering nine- to 14-night cruise itineraries from Hamburg, visiting Iceland, Ireland, North Cape and Spitzbergen. The MSC Splendida will have diverse cruise itineraries, including seven- to 14-night cruises to the Norwegian fjords and Baltic capitals, and 10- and 11-night cruises to the North Cape or Baltic capitals.

MSC Cruises USA Policies

North American passengers who have been booked on the canceled near-term sailings (through July 2020) are automatically receiving a 125% future cruise credit that can then be applied to sailings through 2021. In addition passengers who have booked with MSC Cruises USA on departures sailing August 1 through October 31, 2020, are eligible for MSC Cruise Assurance, which allows them to cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure without penalties. And they will receive a 100% Future Cruise Credit (FCC) that can be used through 2021.

 About MSC Cruises

The world’s fastest-growing cruise line, MSC Cruises sails to more than 200 destinations around the world. Over the next several years, the line will continue its rapid growth, which includes the World Class vessels. It also will be focused on preserving and protecting the oceans and seas. MSC Cruises is the first global cruise line with carbon neutral marine operations as of January 2020.

Diverse dining options onboard the ships include an extensive choice of restaurants and menus, and specialty restaurants featuring Michelin-star chefs. A feature onboard the MSC Seaside, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Divina is MSC Yacht Club. This premium, all-inclusive private enclave includes elegant suite accommodations, 24-hour butler and concierge services, an all-inclusive gourmet restaurant, the exclusive Top Sail Lounge, plus private pool and sun deck area. Complimentary cocktails, wines, beers, soft drinks, and mineral water throughout the ship are also included.

With diverse itineraries throughout the world and wonderful onboard experiences, MSC Cruises is definitely one to consider for a future group cruise.


Cindy Bertram has 15+ years of cruise industry expertise in marketing, content creation, sales and training as well as social media. Her MBA from Loyola University Chicago complements her high creative edge and liberal arts BA. She can be reached at cindy@ptmgroups.com.