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WHY IT RATES: A second ship in the United Arab Emirates region demonstrates MSC Cruises' confidence in its continued growth potential. -Jason Leppert, Cruise Senior Writer
MSC Cruises, the world's largest privately-owned cruise line, is enhancing its range of cruises from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with the introduction of a second ship, MSC Lirica.
Featuring new extended 11-night and 14-night cruises, MSC Lirica will be making her debut in the UAE during November 2018. She will be offering longer itineraries, two overnight stays in Dubai, as well as cruises to India for the very first time.
MSC Splendidawill also sail the UAE region during winter 2018/2019, offering shorter 7-night itineraries. The addition of MSC Lirica to the winter 2018/2019 itineraries offers guests the opportunity for extended winter cruise vacations and the chance to discover more new and exotic destinations.
"This will be our seventh season in the UAE and we have seen strong demand for our quality product offering from Dubai and Abu Dhabi," said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. "Our modern ships and distinctive, quality cruise experience are an appealing way for travelers to explore the rich and diverse experiences that the UAE can offer."
"Introducing India to MSC Cruises' winter 2018/2019 itineraries demonstrates how our significant investment plan is enabling us to expand our global footprint and establish a presence in a high-potential market, one that we expect to grow considerably over the coming years," continued Onorato.
Discover the Delights of India
This year, for the first time, MSC Cruises will offer cruises to India from Dubai. Guests will call at bustling Abu Dhabi, followed by the serene and picturesque Muscat, before crossing the Arabian Sea and calling in Mumbai-the front door to India.
Teeming with energy and excitement, Mumbai is a place where cultures collide. Guests can marvel at some of the grandest colonial architecture India has to offer or take a cool-dive into the many bazaars and hidden temples around every corner. And the experience in India is not just limited to Mumbai.
The voyage also offers the chance to escape to serenity while watching the sun go down across the stretch of golden beaches in Goa, as well as the opportunity to discover the hidden gems of Mangalore. From fragrant, bustling vibrancy to utter tranquillity, guests can expect an experience like no other aboard MSCLirica.
Extended Winter Sun
For those searching for a longer getaway in the winter sun, MSC Cruises' 11-night itineraries from Dubai and Abu Dhabi will provide the perfect escape, with a range of beautiful beach locations en route. Sir Bani Yas, a unique island beach oasis, exclusive to MSC Cruises on the days it calls, offers guests pristine beaches, water activities and access to the region's largest nature reserve.
The Pearl-Qatar, Doha's stunning man-made island, spans more than 10 million square feet and is home to beaches, a wide range of shopping and over 100 bars and restaurants. Khasab, Oman is one of the most striking cities on the Arabian Peninsula, where turquoise water cools the warm beaches on the shores of its impressive and historic fort.
Manama, Bahrain's charming capital, is a metropolis abuzz with culture and intrigue where modern skyscrapers stand with historic buildings.
More time to explore
MSC Cruises is also introducing two overnight stays in Dubai as part of its new itineraries, allowing guests extended time to explore the excitement of this cosmopolitan port. Guests will be able to take in the sights of the legendary evening skyline from the comfort of MSC Lirica. Beyond this, MSC Lirica passengers will witness the night sky in Muscat, where the sun sets over the magnificent domes and minarets of this historic port city.
Shore Excursions for Every Port
MSC Cruises is committed to offering guests a wide range of quality shore excursions to enhance their experience at every port. Booking an excursion through MSC Cruises is stress-free, with offers to meet every vacation need. Guests that book excursions in advance will also enjoy a 20% discount. Some of the highlights of the shore excursions on MSC Lirica include:
-Dubai - EXCLUSIVE DUBAI: BURJ KHALIFA & LUNCH AT BURJ AL ARAB
This excursion takes in some of the most iconic symbols of Dubai including Dubai Mall; the world's tallest building, the incredible Burj Al Khalifa; the world-renowned seven-star luxury hotel Burj Al Arab and the man-made, palm-shaped island, Palm Jumeirah. As a break from the glamour, guests can visit Dubai's famous gold souk, and experience Dubai's traditional way of life.
-Abu Dhabi - THE LOUVRE MUSEUM & ABU DHABI EXPLORATION
Fondly referred to as the "Manhattan of Arabia," this sightseeing tour offers guests many photo opportunities across the city, finishing at the incredible new Louvre Abu Dhabi, the largest art museum on the Arabian Peninsula.
-Bahrain - BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT IN A 4X4
Guests score through the Bahrain International Circuit in the heart of the Sakhir Desert. For the true adventurer, participants take a 4x4 to the limit over man-made and natural obstacles.
-Muscat - MYSTICAL MUSCAT
This excursion allows guests to commune with Oman's spiritual and cultural heritage, on a tour from the Grand Mosque to old Muscat and the Muttrah Souk, a traditional Omani market. Guests will also stop at the Bait Al Zubair Museum, to discover archaeological finds and see the traditional dress and jewelry of Oman.
-Qatar - DESERT SAFARI AND RELAX AT THE BEACH
To understand Qatar's singularity, a trip through its surrounding desert is a must. Through an exhilarating ride across the rolling sand dunes ending at Gulf Adventure camp, guests find an oasis of tranquillity in the Arabian desert, kissed by the blue waters of the Arabian Gulf.
-Goa - CROCODILES, MANGROVE & RIVER CRUISE
Guests have an opportunity to discover Goa's verdant landscape on this one-of-a-kind river cruise. Among the mangroves long the flowing Cumbarjua River, travelers are met by the impressive birdlife and freshwater crocodiles.
-Mumbai - OVERLAND TO THE TAJ MAHAL
Over the course of three days, this tour takes guests through Mumbai, New Delhi, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra-home to the breath-taking Taj Mahal-and Cochin. With two nights in luxury hotels, this express tour travels through some of India's most famous and memorable landmarks.
-New Mangalore - Jain & Udupi Temples
The tour takes guests to visit the famous Jain temples of Mangalore. From the 15th Century Moodbidiri temple to Udupi's Krishna Temple, these ancient temples are a unique immersion into India's heritage.
A Grand Adventure
For those seeking an extended adventure, MSC Cruises' Grand Voyages offer a unique opportunity to traverse the historic Suez Canal. MSC Lirica will offer two opportunities for a Grand Voyages with longer itineraries featuring a variety of unique ports.
-November 2 - 19, 2018: 17-night sailing from Venice, Italy with stops in Katakolon, Greece; Piraeus, Greece; Heraklion, Greece; Aqaba, Jordan; Salalah, Oman; Muscat, Oman; Khasab, Oman; and ending in Dubai, UAE for an overnight stay. Prices start at $1,629 for a balcony stateroom.
-March 15 - April 4, 2019: 20-night sailing from Dubai, UAE with stops in Sir Bani Yas Island, UAE; Muscat, Oman; Eilat, Israel; Aqaba, Jordan; Limassol, Cyprus; Piraeus, Greece; Katakalon, Greece; Kotor, Montenegro; Split, Croatia; and ending in Venice, Italy. Prices start at $2,269 for a balcony stateroom.
MSC Lirica will offer ten cruises embarking from either Dubai or Abu Dhabi starting at $1,369 for a balcony stateroom. Entirely refurbished as part of MSC Cruises' $273 million Renaissance Program, MSC Lirica represents the height of style and comfort at sea. This modern ship offers fine dining options with the best of Mediterranean and international cuisines; exclusive, world-class entertainment; unparalleled family facilities; luxurious pampering and wellness; and accommodations to meet every need.
MSC Splendida will also be based in the UAE for the Winter 2018/2019 season offering 7 night cruises with two embarkation ports - Dubai on Saturday and Abu Dhabi on Sunday. MSC Splendida features the MSC Yacht Club, designed for the most discerning guests who desire exclusivity and privacy but with a world of choice. The MSC Yacht Club is an innovative "ship within a ship" design concept, with an entirely self-contained area on the foredecks of the ship providing sweeping sea views with a range of private facilities including a pool, solarium and a dedicated restaurant.
For further detail on the updated itineraries from MSC Cruises, please visit www.msccruises.com, and for MSC Lirica itineraries please see here.
Source: MSC Cruises press release
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