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MSC Cruises Adds Tampa as Homeport Starting in 2020

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MSC Cruises announced Thursday it would expand its presence in North America with the introduction of Tampa as a new homeport for the fourth-largest cruise line.

Beginning on November 11, 2020, the MSC Armonia will sail from Tampa to the Caribbean, Mexico and The Bahamas year-round. The vessel will offer a full Winter season, running November 2020 through April 2021, of four- to five-night short cruises followed by a Summer season, running May 2021 through November 2021, of week-long cruise options.

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The winter itineraries for MSC Armonia will include destinations such as Key West; Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Progreso, Mexico; and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises’ new private island destination in The Bahamas.

“As MSC Cruises expands its presence in the U.S., the introduction of Tampa as a homeport plays an important role in our long-term deployment strategy for this region,” MSC Cruises USA Chief Operating Officer Ken Muskat said in a statement.

“We’ve seen increased demand for cruise options from Tampa as vacationers from around the world look to explore the city and surrounding areas pre- and post-cruise,” Muskat continued. “We’re looking forward to bringing MSC Armonia, one of our more classic and charming ships, to Tampa and to introducing even more travelers to the MSC Cruises experience, inspired by our European heritage.”

Travelers will also have the opportunity to extend the length of their vacation with nine- or 10-night options with back-to-back cruises featuring new destinations on each sailing. MSC Armonia will also offer several seven-night cruise options in December 2020, including Christmas and New Years.

Following its inaugural season in Tampa, MSC Armonia will then transition to seven-night sailings from May through November 2021, with stops at Key West; Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve; Cozumel, Mexico; and Progreso, Mexico.

Prices for the voyages start at $299 per person.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source |

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Cruises

Viking Extends Suspension of Cruising Through August 31

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Viking has further suspended operations through Aug. 31, 2020. The company initially announced it would stop cruising on March 11.

“We were the first cruise line to announce a temporary suspension of operations. We have continued to evaluate the situation, responding accordingly,” Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen wrote in a May 28 post on the company website. “While restrictions related to COVID-19 are beginning to ease in some countries, travel remains complicated. Therefore, we have made the decision to extend our temporary suspension of operations through Aug. 31, 2020.”

The company is offering 125 percent credit to passengers booked on canceled voyages. “It is fully transferable, allowing you to gift it to someone with whom you would like to share the joys of travel. It can be applied within the next 24 months to any river, ocean or expedition cruise,” Hagen wrote. “If you are unable to use your voucher by the expiration date, simply return your expired voucher to Viking, and we will send you a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking.”

For more details on credits and refunds, click here.

Hagen said the company is developing new safety protocols and taking care of its crew members.

“We have always had the highest standards for health and cleanliness—and are now developing additional protocols to make traveling with Viking even safer. We will be sharing more information about this very soon,” he wrote. “Also, during this time of non-operation, we are further training our crew and preparing our fleet to welcome you onboard again. Since our first announcement, many of you have expressed concern for our crew, and I want to reassure you that we are continuing to take good care of them.”

Hagen said he is seeing signs of hope in Europe. “I am delighted to note that in the past couple of weeks, hope has emerged here in Europe. In Switzerland, restaurants and shops opened two weeks ago, and I must admit it was a great treat to go to my favorite Italian restaurant the other day. Last week, I had my first day in the office – with a mask and proper distancing. It now also looks as though the local borders in Europe are starting to open up.”

Viking plans to launch the ocean ship Viking Venus Early next year and, in 2022, will welcome new expedition vessels, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, that will sail the Arctic, Antarctic and North America’s Great Lakes, and a modern river vessel, Viking Mississippi.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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