Issue 20
An Epic Voyage
Cruise the seven seas on the floating palace MSC Lirica
Edited by Jo Kromberg  ·  2016-01-15  ·   Source:

All photos are courtesy of

MSC Cruises S.A., the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, the Mediterranean, South America and South Africa, recently revealed plans to make its first cruise to China. The newly-renovated MSC Lirica will be calling in Shanghai on 1 May 2016, after having travelled across continents. The 65,000-GRT ship will make the company’s maiden call in China’s biggest megalopolis after a 60-day round-the-world Grand Voyage via Europe, which departs on 3 March 2016 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises CEO, declared: "We are delighted to once more be able to offer our guests a brand new itinerary-- from Brazil to China via Europe--which offers the chance to visit some of the most appealing locations on earth, certainly across a huge array of people and cultures."

Onorato added: "This new Grand Voyage offering is proof of our steadfast commitment to offer our experienced guests and holiday-makers innovative and sought-after destinations. As MSC Cruises continues to expand its destinations, we are further enhancing our global offering, while providing travellers best-in-class experiences and service."

Three different versions of the Grand Voyage, with Shanghai as final destination, are currently on offer to cruise lovers and eager travellers. MSC Cruises’ guests will have the opportunity to depart from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Genoa in Italy, or Dubai in the UAE.

MSC Cruises has a broad range of itineraries on offer to meet the demand from cruisers around the world--from short three night-breaks, to standard seven-night journeys, as well as 11- to 14-night cruises. However, the longest cruises fall into the extensive Grand Voyage offering, which includes journeys from Europe to South America; the Antilles and Caribbean to South Africa or Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Emirates and back. This new offer of back-to-back Grand Voyages from South America to China via Europe highlights MSC Cruises’ vast offering beyond its core leadership in Europe and the Mediterranean. Indeed, MSC Cruises also offers cruises in the Caribbean, the French Antilles and other sought-after locations around the world from Northern Europe to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.

Additionally, recently MSC Cruises made the headlines when it announced that, as of December 2015, it will be the first global cruise line to offer travellers the opportunity to visit Cuba and set sail on one of the 16 cruises that MSC Opera will operate from Havana.

Fully renovated

Before setting sail, MSC Lirica will have been fully renovated and enlarged under MSC Cruises’ Renaissance Programme, which entails a comprehensive overhaul programme which was completed in November 2015.

The ship will leave Guanabara Bay and Rio de Janeiro on 3 March 2016, and sail north along the coast of Brazil to Buzios, Salvador, Maceio and Fortaleza before crossing the Atlantic on a northeast course towards the Canary Islands and the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife before reaching mainland Europe and Cadiz, Spain.

From there, MSC Lirica will call the three biggest ports in the Mediterranean: Barcelona, Marseille or Genoa. Guests will therefore be able to decide to embark in Europe to journey towards Asia. Thus, MSC Cruises guests will be offered the unique pleasure to sail from Catalonia, Provence or Liguria to the mythical port of Shanghai, the gateway to China and the Far East, on a 41-night journey to the other side of the world.

During this once-in-a-lifetime journey across seas and oceans, guests will embark aboard the 2,600-capacity ship in Barcelona, Marseille or Genoa, on a 42-day cruise that will take them to 18 ports in 13 countries, once they have left the shores of Liguria.

From Genoa, MSC Lirica will call Naples (Italy), the island of Crete with Heraklion (Greece), then head south to Aqaba in Jordan, followed by Muscat (Oman), Khor Al Fakhan in the United Arab Emirates, followed by an overnight stay in Dubai (also U.A.E). From the Persian Gulf, the MSC Lirica will set sail towards the East and the Indian cities of Goa and Cochin, then call Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka, and then journey to Phuket, Thailand, Penang and Port Kenang in Malaysia, before arriving in Singapore.

After her stay Singapore, the MSC Lirica will bring its guests to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, before reaching Hong Kong. From the former British colony, Shanghai will be the next call for an overnight stay, and then she will head across the China Sea to Fukuoka in Japan. From the Land of the Rising Sun, MSC Lirica will head to the high seas for the last time of her journey and return to Shanghai, due to arrive on 1 May 2016.

In other news, the just-published Cruise Industry News Annual Report declared MSC Cruises the number one cruise line in Europe, including in the Mediterranean. The Report, which is one of the most reputable sources of information for the industry, stated that MSC Cruises conquered the leading rank in the industry thanks to a deployed capacity across the Continent of about 1.1 million passengers.


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