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MSC Cruises Confirms a Full 2021 Season From UK and Signs With Chelsea FC
MSC Cruises to Offer Full Ex-UK Season of Sailings on Stretched and Refurbished Ship
MSC Magnifica (Photo: MSC Cruises)

MSC Cruises to Offer Full Ex-UK Season of Sailings on Stretched and Refurbished Ship

MSC Cruises to Offer Full Ex-UK Season of Sailings on Stretched and Refurbished Ship
MSC Magnifica (Photo: MSC Cruises)

October 10, 2019

Adam Coulter
UK Managing Editor
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(6 p.m. BST) -- MSC Cruises has confirmed it will offer a full season of cruises departing Southampton in 2021 on the stretched and refurbished MSC Magnifica.

The ship will offer 24 sailings from Southampton to new destinations, including the Canary Islands, the Western Mediterranean, the Baltic and the Norwegian fjords from May to October 2021.

MSC Magnifica will go into dry dock in March and April 2021 to be sliced in half so a 23-meter section can be added, giving it an extra 7,000 square metres of space. Extra features will include 215 new cabins, a new kids' water park, a larger sun deck, kids club enhancements and two new restaurants.

MSC Cruises' UK Managing Director Antonio Paradiso told Cruise Critic: "This ship is meant to target the UK market, and my priorities are families and couples.

"We have a relatively young demographic, which is why we are adding a kids' water park, refurbishing the indoor and outdoor kids' area and adding two speciality restaurants."

Paradiso would not confirm which two restaurants they would be, but he did say they would be two of the popular ones on the line's newest ships -- probably Butcher's Cut and Teppanyaki.

The 215 new cabins will be predominantly balcony cabins, as Paradiso says they are the most popular, but he did not rule out adding the line's keycard-only, all-suite enclave, the MSC Yacht Club, to the ship: "We are talking about it," he said.

The new itineraries include the following:

May Bank Holiday Mini Cruise: A three-night sailing across the late May Bank Holiday, leaving from Southampton late on Friday evening and spending the day in Zeebrugge before returning to Southampton.

Baltic Capitals: A 12-night cruise departing 31st May or a 14-night cruise departing 11th September. Offering slightly different itineraries that include an overnight stay in Stockholm and a visit to Denmark's Skagen. Both sailings also include an overnight onboard stay in St Petersburg and a visit to Oslo.****

Norway Your Way: Four different Norway itineraries, all including stops in Flam and Stavanger, as well as Rosendal and Nordfjordeid, which are new destinations for MSC.

14-night Med Cruise: Timed to coincide with the summer holidays and with families in mind, this cruise departs Saturday 7th August and features two sea days, followed by seven different ports in nine days. They include a late sail from Palma before the ship returns to Southampton.

Paradiso said: "The feedback I get from Cruise Critic, customers and travel agents is: 'Why don't you have an itinerary from Southampton to the Western Med?'

"My response has been: 'We already have 10 ships in the Med, which you can fly to,' but with this cruise you don't have to fly -- you can avoid all that hassle and let us take you to the Med.

"It also leaves and returns on a Saturday, so you can take 10 days off and have a 14-day holiday."

MSC offered a full season of ex-UK sailings this year, but that will drop sharply in 2020, due to a lack of available ships.

As well as a full refurb, MSC Magnifica will include all the "Best of British" enhancements that were initially showcased in 2018, including pie and mash, back bacon and sausages available in the buffet and kettles in cabins with Yorkshire Tea, which is back by popular demand.

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