Monday, February 06, 2006

RCI Ups "Largest Ship" Ante ...

Does that come with a football stadium?: Just ordering the world's largest, most expensive cruise ship is Royal Caribbean International, acccording to Europe's largest shipbuilder, Aker Yards ASA. Contract price for the new ship, designated Project Genesis, is 900 million euros -- or about $1 billion -- making it the "most valuable ship ever ordered in the history of commercial shipbuilding," according to an Aker statement. The 1,181-foot ship will have 5,400-passenger capacity, according to Aker, and will exceed by 43 percent Aker's Freedom of the Seas, to be the world's largest cruise ship when delivered to RCI in April. The newly ordered ship is to be delivered in late 2009 after construction at a Finnish yard, Aker said. The contract, contingent on final approval of financing, includes an option for a second ship. Check out Metroguide.com’s cruise port guide at http://www.portofcallguide.com/

MSC Hot, Hot, Hot In the Caribbean

  • PORT EVERGLADES TO HOST MSC MUSICA: MSC Cruises beckons with a hot lineup of 2006-07 Caribbean itineraries along with repositioning sailings to New York and debut of the MSC Musica in the North American market. "It's going to be a memorable season, from beginning to end," says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA. For the Italian-owned MSC Cruises, the season begins with the Nov. 15 arrival of MSC Lirica in Fort Lauderdale after a 17-night transatlantic crossing from Genoa. The ship will sail an 11-night Deep Caribbean Thanksgiving Cruise calling at San Juan, St. Maarten, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Tortola and Cayo Levantado. Then it alternates on 11-nighters to Panama and the Deep Caribbean, including a Christmas itinerary and a NewYear's sailing. MSC Lirica ends the Caribbean season with an 11-nighter to Montreal departing Fort Lauderdale on April 29. MSC Musica comes to North America as a Panamax vessel with innovative design. MSC Musica's inaugural cruise departs Venice July 1. After sailing Eastern Med itineraries, the ship leaves Genoa Nov. 8 on her 16-night inaugural transatlantic sailing. MSC Musica arrives in Fort Lauderdale to an evening of celebration Friday, Nov. 24. The following day through March 10 the ship begins weekly 7-night roundtrippers to San Juan, St. Maarten, La Romana and Cayo Levantado. The fleet's newest addition hosts 2,550 guests. Of 1,275 staterooms, almost 80 percent are ocean view, and 65 percent have balconies. MSC Musica, the largest of the line's fleet, features:
  • A sparkling waterfall in three-deck central foyer, where guests are entertained by a piano suspended via a transparent crystal floor, above a pool of luminous water;
  • A 13,000-sq.-ft. spa/beauty facility offering aerobics, yoga and such treatments as aromatherapy, thalassotherapy, chromotherapeutic hydro-massage and a Turkish bath;
  • A 7,000 sq-ft. casino;
  • Dining options including two restaurants, a Sushi Bar, an a la carte eatery and a pizza/grill;
  • Assorted bars/lounges, including a Cigar Room, Wine Tasting Bar and Coffee Bar, as well as a 46-foot-long bar in the casino and a Well-being and Fitness Center Bar;
  • Expansive entertainment venues a three-deck theatre that seats 1,240 and a panoramic disco at the ship's stern.
  • Expanded onboard shopping, dedicated to electronics, logo merchandise and cosmetics, and an art gallery;
  • Sports and fitness-related activities, including a tennis court, golf simulator, jogging track and mini-golf.

MSC Musica returns to Europe on a special 20-night cruise to Venice that departs Fort Lauderdale March 17 and includes an overnight in Venice aboard ship at the end of the cruise." MSC Musica adds yet another dimension to the MSC Cruises fleet, while maintaining the Italian design, ambiance, service and cuisine expected from an MSC Cruises experience, says Sasso. Backed by one of the world's largest container shipping companies, MSC Cruises has emerged as a fast-rising star in the European-style premium cruise market. The company launched a $3 billion expansion program in 2003, introducing MSC Lirica. MSC Cruises added the MSC Armonia (built in 2001) to its fleet in spring, 2004 and the MSC Opera debuted in June 2004. The line purchased the MSC Sinfonia in July 2004 (the ship began cruising in March 2005). Two 2,600-passenger ships are on order, with MSC Musica entering service in spring 2006, and MSC Orchestra in 2007. The line also has contracted for two post-Panamax ships; the MSC Fantasia debuting in 2008 and the MSC Serenata in 2009. Check out Metroguide.com’s cruise port guide at www.portofcallguide.com