WHY IT RATES: Guests sailing to the Caribbean from Miami this holiday season can now select from among four MSC Cruises ships, be among the first to experience the new Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, and enjoy exclusive holiday menus designed by Martha Stewart for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's.- Laurie Baratti, TravelPulse Associate Writer
With ocean cruising continuing to be a strong choice for families traveling together*, now is the time for travelers to plan a cruise with all of the glitter and pomp of the holiday season. MSC Cruises USA will ring in the 2019 holiday season with a new ship for those sailing from Miami to the Caribbean, a new private Island destination-Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve-and themed onboard activities. And, as part of MSC Cruises partnership with lifestyle expert Martha Stewart, guests will also enjoy specially designed menus for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's.
"Cruising continues to be an excellent choice for families during the holidays because it's turnkey and offers a multitude of options in terms of accommodations and activities to meet varied needs and vacation styles. And, with MSC Meraviglia having just arrived to North America, guests now have four ships to choose from when sailing from Miami to the Caribbean," said Ken Muskat, EVP and Chief Operating Officer of MSC Cruises USA. "Guests can celebrate with loved ones, explore one of the world's most popular cruise destinations during the holidays, enjoy MSC Cruises' enriching and immersive cruise experience, and for the first time taste our exclusive holiday menus designed by Martha Stewart."
New this Holiday Season
MSC Meraviglia is the newest cruise ship in MSC Cruises' Caribbean line-up, having officially arrived to North America this October. Upon arrival to Miami on November 10, MSC Meraviglia will join the iconic MSC Seaside, sailing the Caribbean year-round from Miami; MSC Divina, returning to Miami in November; and MSC Armonia, sailing 7-night Caribbean sailings from Miami, before repositioning to homeport in Tampa in November 2020.
Another debut just in time for the holiday season, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve officially opens to guests November 9. The island's natural beauty is at the center of the experience, with sweeping vistas of crystal blue waters and eight white sandy beaches spanning over two miles. Activities include snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, and kayaking; luxurious spa treatments; shopping areas with authentic Bahamian arts and crafts by local artisans; and one of a kind night events such as traditional Junkanoo parades, lighthouse light shows, and beachside stargazing.
MSC Cruises Holiday Cruises
Highlights of MSC Cruises' Caribbean holiday season voyages include:
Guests on board can give thanks for stunning sea views and the shimmering Caribbean sun. To celebrate Thanksgiving, guests will enjoy a traditional Turkey dinner and, in true American style, all-day football cast on various large screen TVs on board.
Martha Stewart will present her first menus of the holiday season, serving up roasted butternut squash soup, roasted turkey breast with Big Martha's mashed potatoes and deep-dish pumpkin-meringue pie in the ship's main dining room and Yacht Club restaurant.
- MSC Meraviglia - Departing November 24, 2019: Having just arrived in Miami on November 10, guests can be one of the first few to experience this ship in the Caribbean, and over Thanksgiving. This 7-night sailing will embark from Miami and visit Costa Maya, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Isla de Roatán, Honduras; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Prices start at $719 per person for a balcony stateroom.
- MSC Seaside - Departing November 23, 2019: 7-night sailing from Miami visiting Costa Maya, Mexico; George Town, Cayman Islands; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Prices start at $759 per person for a balcony stateroom.
- MSC Divina - Departing November 25, 2019: 11-night sailing from Miami to Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Prices start at $899 per person for a balcony stateroom.
Hanukkah & Christmas
With Hanukkah beginning on December 22 this year, MSC Cruises' Caribbean ships will be buzzing with holiday celebrations for both Hanukkah and Christmas. To celebrate the festival of lights, guests on board MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside, MSC Divina and MSC Armonia can participate in a nightly Menorah lighting as well as an on board daily prayer service. Additionally, in the ships' buffets, guests can munch on the most classic of Hanukkah treats, latkes, or fried potato pancakes. A menorah will also be on display, and special Kosher meals can be ordered in advance.
MSC Cruises' Caribbean ships will ring in Christmas 2019 with a variety of activities and themed culinary creations. The ships and their staff will be decked out in festive holiday costumes and décor, with sparkling lights and decorations, stunning Christmas trees, and, of course, Santa hats. On board, guests can participate in activities like holiday-themed trivia, a photo opportunity with Santa himself, a Christmas parade, and a special evening Christmas show. Santa's arrival will also come with special gifts for the little ones, and a Christmas mass will be available on board.
In addition, cruisers can take a bite out of the holidays with Martha Stewart's exclusive menus. For Hanukkah, the menu celebrates with traditional potato latkes with sour cream and pink applesauce, a braised brisket served with petit carrots, pearl onions, celery root and a potato purée, and, for dessert, an apple tarte tatin topped with vanilla whipped cream. The Yacht Club menu features similar items including potato latkes with Créme Fraîche and caviar, red wine-braised short ribs served with petit carrots, parsnips, celery root and a side of potato purée, and an apple tarte tatin served with buttermilk sorbet and vanilla ice cream.
For Christmas, guests will start with red endive and pink radicchio salad, sage and citrus-crusted prime rib roast, and special Kris Kringle bread pudding, on top of special items on Christmas Day, including traditional roast turkey, Panettone, and a Yule Log. In the Yacht Club, guests will enjoy a similar menu with special additions including a gorgonzola dulce sauce for the appetizer salad and individual Yorkshire puddings added to the prime rib. The buffet will also offer special sweets like Christmas cookies and a "Happy Holidays" cake, as well as a special holiday brunch buffet.
- MSC Meraviglia - Departing December 22, 2019: 7-night sailing from Miami visiting Costa Maya, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Isla de Roatán, Honduras; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Prices start at $1,039 per person for a balcony stateroom.
- MSC Seaside - Departing December 21, 2019: 7-night sailing from Miami visiting Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Prices start at $899 per person for a balcony stateroom.
- MSC Divina - Departing December 20, 2019: 7-night sailing from Miami visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico; Road Town, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and Nassau, Bahamas. Prices start at $739 per person for a balcony stateroom.
MSC Armonia - Departing December 23, 2019: 7-night sailing from Miami visiting Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Prices start at $1,209 per person for a balcony stateroom.
Guests will bid farewell to 2019 with a number of bubbling events on board including themed activities and parties. For a special New Year's Eve Gala Dinner, guests can enjoy Martha Stewart's poached shrimp with cocktail sauce, homemade fettuccine with a creamy parmesan sauce, and profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and topped with a warm chocolate sauce. In the Yacht Club, the meal is elevated with a variety of poached seafood for the appetizer, truffles added to the homemade fettucine, and, for dessert, chocolate and caramel ice cream in addition to vanilla.
Then, the final farewell will be at the New Year's Eve dance party on the ship's pool deck, with a countdown to midnight and a champagne toast. For those traveling with kids, MSC Cruises is extending the kids club hours and offering babysitting in the kids club for free so that parents can enjoy New Year's celebrations.
- MSC Seaside - Departing December 28, 2019: 7-night sailing from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands; Nassau, Bahamas; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Prices start at $1,389 per person for a balcony stateroom.
- MSC Divina - Departing December 27, 2019: 11-night sailing from Miami to Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; Costa Maya, Mexico; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. Prices start at $1,039 per person for a balcony stateroom.
- MSC Armonia - Departing December 30, 2019: 7-night sailing from Miami to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; and Costa Maya, Mexico. Prices start at $1,039 per person for a balcony stateroom.
Guests can choose to book a holiday family getaway on four entirely distinct ships sailing from Miami to the Caribbean, boasting their unique style and offering while staying true to MSC Cruises enriching and immersive cruise experience, inspired by its European heritage. To learn more about MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside, MSC Divina and MSC Armonia's upcoming sailings, travelers can contact their preferred travel agent or visit www.msccruises.com.
*FCCA 2019 Cruise Industry Overview
Government, fees and taxes are additional. All information believed to be accurate as of the date of issuance. It is the reader's responsibility to verify its continued accuracy, as all information is subject to change.
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