TORONTO — The news reports coming in from Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands are heartbreaking, and the images even more so.
FORT LAUDERDALE — MSC Cruises has added Tampa as a new homeport starting November 2020 in an effort to expand its presence in North America.
Starting Nov. 11, 2020, MSC Armonia will begin sailing from Tampa to the Caribbean, Mexico and the Bahamas year-round, with a full winter season (November 2021-April 2021) of four- to five-night short cruises. This will be followed by a summer season (May-November 2021) of week-long cruises.
“As MSC Cruises expands its presence in the U.S., the introduction of Tampa as a homeport plays an important role in our long-term deployment strategy for this region,” said Ken Muskat, EVP and COO of MSC Cruises USA. “We’ve seen increased demand for cruise options from Tampa as vacationers from around the world look to explore the city and surrounding areas pre- and post-cruise.”
When MSC Armonia arrives in Tampa, it will recently have been refreshed after undergoing dry dock in November 2019. This follows the renovation and stretching of the ship in late 2014, when a variety of new onboard features were added, including a new splash park for kids, balcony staterooms, redesigned restaurants and bars, new entertainment space and an enlarged MSC Aurea Spa.
Four- and five-night sailings aboard MSC Armonia in Winter 2020-2021 include the following:
• Jan. 10-14, 2021 (4 nights): Tampa; Key West; Ocean Cay; at sea; Tampa, starting at US$239 per person
• Jan. 14-19, 2021 (5 nights): Tampa; at sea; Cozumel; Costa Maya; at sea; Tampa, starting at $299 per person
• Jan. 19-24 (5 nights): Tampa; Key West; at sea; Progreso (Mexico); at sea; Tampa, starting at $289 per person
Following its inaugural season in Tampa, MSC Armonia will transition to seven-night sailings from May through November 2021 with stops at Key West, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, Cozumel and Progreso. Prices start at $299 per person.
MSC Armonia and its new itineraries will also continue to feature MSC’s partnership with Martha Stewart that includes culinary experiences onboard and ashore. ‘Martha Stewart & MSC Cruises Excursions’ are currently being curated in Key West, Ocean Cay and Progreso to complement the existing Martha Stewart excursions for these itineraries in Cozumel and Costa Maya.
To kick off the opening of sales for MSC Armonia from Tampa, all bookings (FIT and groups) made by travel agents between now and March 12, 2020 will receive 20% commission.
Plus, MSC is offering a special incentive for group bookings of eight staterooms or more on MSC Armonia sailings from Tampa. This includes: waiver of initial good faith deposit for groups of 16 staterooms or less; accelerated tour conductors (TC) with one free TC credit for 10 full fare guests (five staterooms); discounted group rates with savings of up to $50 per person over individual (FIT) rates; and up to 8 Amenity Points for travel agents to use towards the amenities of their choice for either their clients or themselves.
Agents are also invited to take advantage of the ‘Get On Board Program’, which allows them to sail on MSC Armonia, MSC Seaside or MSC Meraviglia for a discounted price and then get reimbursed once they make 10 Caribbean individual (FIT) bookings on any MSC Cruises’ seven-night or longer sailing from Florida.
For more information go to msccruises.com.