PHOTO: Chef Roy Yamaguchi and MSC Cruises at Seatrade Cruise Global 2016. (Photo by Jason Leppert)
This year alone, MSC Cruises will launch two of its eleven new ships on order: the MSC Meraviglia in June and the MSC Seaside in December.
With them comes greater international dining flexibility, choice and onboard venues.
The Meraviglia will begin its voyages in Europe before coming over to North America in 2019, while the Seaside will homeport from Miami from the get-go.
“We continue to drive innovation in cruising at many levels, which now also includes our onboard dining experience. The new dining concepts cater to the needs of today’s cruise guests, who are looking for more flexibility and choices,” said Andrea Gangale, MSC Cruises’ Head of Product Development and Guest Experience, in a press release.
“Starting with MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside, guests will be able to manage their choices, through cutting-edge onboard technology, and experience an even greater selection of international restaurants which will deliver culinary experiences from around the world.”
To start, MSC will unveil Flexi Dining and Classic options.
The first affords guests the opportunity to reserve daily dinner times in advance and change them at will. The second is the more traditional approach for selecting from two set seating times every evening. Meanwhile, MSC Yacht Club guests will retain their any-time or reservable dining benefits in the club's dedicated restaurant.
As for buffet dining, the MSC Seaside will uniquely feature two such venues serving global cuisine 20 hours a day, one of which will be specifically geared towards family-friendly offerings.
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Specialty restaurants also continue to be in vogue. Both the Seaside and Meraviglia will feature “open kitchen” concepts with viewable galleys, and certain venues will also showcase Chef’s Table experiences.
Among the premium dining venues will be Kaito Sushi Bar and Kaito Teppanyaki for modern Asian cuisine on Meraviglia. Coming to both ships will be American Steakhouse – Butcher’s Cut for selecting favorite cuts from meat-aging refrigerators, all washed down with a selection of fine wines, cocktails and craft beers.
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The Ocean Cay seafood restaurant is specific to the MSC Seaside, where American-style fish dishes will be prepared with Mediterranean flair including local stone crabs, fresh sea bass and spaghetti alle vongole (with clams).
Highlighting celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi on the Seaside, there will be three more dining venues collectively called the Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi: an a la carte gourmet restaurant, a sushi bar and teppanyaki grills section.
Yamaguchi is not the only chef collaboration at MSC, as two-star Michelin chef Carlo Cracco will also continue to craft signature courses for the main dining rooms. On the Meraviglia, award-winning French chocolatier and pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury is developing Jean-Philippe Chocolat & Cafe, along with Jean-Philippe Crepes & Gelato eateries. Internationally, the line is also partnering with Chinese chef Jereme Leung for the MSC Lirica.
In order to experience all the new dining options, MSC is extending packages for purchase before the cruise as well.
On Meraviglia, the Dinner & Show package includes a meal and Cirque du Soleil at Sea performance, while another encompasses the Eataly Chef’s Table, a dedicated chef and sommelier, as well as seven wine-paired courses. Plus, there are discounted packages for guests wishing to experience a range of specialty restaurants.