FORT LAUDERDALE — MSC Armonia, the first of four MSC cruise ships to be enlarged and enhanced under the Renaissance Program, was relaunched amid much fanfare in Genoa this week for a 10-day inaugural cruise to the Canary Islands.
Hundreds of journalists and travel industry representatives boarded MSC Armonia, which was moored at the historic Italian port of Genoa, as MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato unveiled her range of new options and features.
Onorato told a press conference in the ship’s Business Center: “I’m very proud of what we and our partners at Fincantieri have achieved with MSC Armonia. Not only is she smarter and more spacious, but we have given her a new lease of life that will appeal to experienced cruise travellers and first-timers in equal measure. This is why we call her ‘the ship that suits you’.”
The $273 million Renaissance Program is the first step in a $6 billion fleet enlargement plan, which includes four brand new ships, comprising two different, state-of-the-art prototypes, 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 will vacation with MSC Cruises every year.
Among the novelties presented, MSC Armonia has more balcony staterooms, more spacious common areas, flexible new dining options and new dedicated clubs for younger guests of all ages. She 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 complement 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 staterooms; redesigned restaurants and bars; buffet open 20 hours a day; 20 hours of 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 LEGO.
After her inaugural cruise, the renewed MSC Armonia will be deployed for a winter season of seven-night cruises to destinations en route to the Canary Islands and Morocco.
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 at msccruises.com/gl_en/Cruise-Departures/Cruise-Details-MSC-Armonia.aspx?cruise_id=AX20141119GOASCT&ship_code=AR.