Port Canaveral Welcomes New Cruise Brand with Launch of MSC Divina



PORT CANAVERAL – It’s much later than originally planned, but MSC Cruises has finally reached Port Canaveral.

MSC Divina set sail this month for its maiden voyage from the port of Central Florida, joining Disney Cruise Line, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian as repeat customers.

Debra and Michael Millner of Jensen Beach became the first to board. They said they normally depart from Miami and tend to leave the house with enough time to handle the traffic, but said driving to Port Canaveral was much easier so they got to the terminal early.

“We’re here and they said, ‘You know, you’re the first here,’ said Michael Millner.

MSC officials then brought them on board, upgraded their cabin, and threw them a confetti-filled deal before leaving the rest of the 1,200 reduced-capacity passengers on board.

The crew of the MSC Divina welcome the first passengers, Debra and Michael Millner from Jensen Beach, Florida, on board for its first crossing from Port Canaveral on September 16, 2021.

The private line has increased its North American footprint, but primarily from PortMiami over the past decade. It plans to launch a new ship in Miami later this year, but Divina, which began sailing in 2012, marks the company’s long-running first foray from Port Canaveral, with planned voyages of three, four and seven nights to the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

“It’s great to have another cruise partner here,” said Wayne Justice, chairman of the Canaveral Harbor Commission, noting that the port will see a record number of ships over the next year and that the port is now starting to see his income exceed. expenses. “It’s juggling, but it’s a fun problem to have.

MSC initially announced plans to start sailing from the port from fall 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to adjust it and the plans of all other cruise lines.

“The path to finally get to Port Canaveral was a mix of preparation with the number of ships we needed and the demand we needed from the US market and the ability to finally expand into the US and then also a chronologically dealing with the pandemic and resuming operations, ”said Line COO Ken Muskat. “The fact that MSC Divina is now our 11th ship to start operations since the start of the pandemic is huge for us and being able to bring her to Port Canaveral is another big step. “

Divina will only have a few months to test the Central Florida market’s taste for the line before sending one of the world’s largest ships, MSC Meraviglia, to port as a replacement.

The Meraviglia was the first ship in the line to return to service from the United States when it began sailing from Miami in August. She will await the debut of the new ship MSC Seashore before moving up the coast to Canaveral, where she will sail from November to April. Then Divina will come back.

“They’re doing a little trade,” Muskat said. “I think it’s a great opportunity because in a short period of time, to be able to introduce two very different vessels to the market… We are year round now. We’re going to be here for the long haul.

The Divina was the first North American-based MSC vessel to sail all year in 2014 and has sailed from Miami several seasons since.

At the time, the 3,502 passenger ship brought the brand’s European flair and showcased the ship concept in an MSC Yacht Club ship, a private area for suite-level guests that has since been copied by other cruise lines, including Norwegian and Royal.

The ship is expansive with 18 decks named after Roman gods such as Apollo and Aphrodite, with countless public spaces and activities ranging from bowling to a Formula 1 racing simulator to a 4D theater that can take a passenger a little lost in moving through the ship.

Each is visually striking and inviting, with modern yet comfortable designs in chairs and tables. The paintings, sculptures and attention to detail are definitely reminiscent of Italy, not to mention brands like Segafredo coffee.

The ship has a radical modern curvilinear style from its chimneys down and a simple dark blue and white color scheme on the exterior. Public spaces inside include all the colors of the palace while cabins range from burgundy and chocolate browns to cool blues and greens or purples and yellows with flourishes in the wall patterns and furniture.

For adults, you can stay in the Sophia Loren suite, in honor of the ship’s godmother.

When Divina makes way for Meraviglia, Port Canaveral will welcome another massive ship, among the 12 largest cruise ships in the world. The Meraviglia, with a capacity of 171,598 gross tons and 4,500 passengers, which means “marvel” in Italian, made its debut in 2017 and has among its offerings a room for 450 people for original Cirque du Soleil shows. .

Both ships will sail to the company’s relatively new private island in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, which was not widely used until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the cruise industry in March 2020.

“What we’re really known for is sort of our European flair. You know we were born and raised as a European cruise line; we have grown considerably in the United States, ”said Muskat, noting that it is now the third largest fleet behind Royal and Carnival.


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