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MSC Cruises Offering $49 Deposits, Extending Cruise Assurance Program



MSC Cruises has extended its fleetwide cancellations through May 29 as it becomes clearer that the coronavirus-outbreak” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>COVID-19 crisis will not be abating any time soon, and also emphasized that it is supporting travel advisors by vowing to protect their commissions on original and rescheduled Future Cruise Credit bookings.

The recently created MSC Cruise Assurance Program has likewise been extended, enabling guests who are booked for sailings on or before September 30, 2020, to cancel or reschedule their reservations up to 48 hours prior to their scheduled departure.

For newly impacted guests who opted into the Cruise Assurance Program, MSC will be offering the same options as those provided when the temporary suspension of sailings was initially announced.

They can choose to either receive a full refund equal to the original amount paid or 125-percent Future Cruise Credit on the original cruise fare paid, to be used on any sailing departing on or before December 31, 2021.

Supplying an incentive for prospective cruise-goers to make future reservations, MSC is offering a reduced deposit amount of just $49 per person all new bookings made between April 6 and June 30, 2020.

New MSC itineraries are already open for booking, tempting travelers to make future plans to get away from the ordinary.

MSC Seashore, the carrier’s new Seaside Evo Class mega-ship, will debut in June 2021 and spend its inaugural season in the Mediterranean before sailing to Miami in November 2021, to begin offering seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, featuring stops at the exclusive Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve private island.

MSC Divina begins its Winter season in New York during September and October of 2021 with new itineraries that feature two-day stays in Bermuda, visits to Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, and ports of call in New England and Canada.

MSC Meraviglia will remain in North America year-round, beginning September 2020, offering seven-night Caribbean sailing from Miami, with additional Western Caribbean itineraries planned for the Winter 2021-22 season.

MSC Armonia will transfer from Miami to Tampa in November 2020 and add Progreso, Mexico, which promises sightings of exotic pink flamingos, as a new port of call to its itinerary.

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European Waterways Barge Cruises Are Ideal for Family Vacations



European Waterways offers the perfect solution to socially distant family travel in Europe.

As the coronavirus pandemic begins to wane and countries begin to reopen their borders to international travelers, families are expected to look to travel to reconnect with one another, and European Waterways is ready for the surge, offering the ideal opportunity for families to explore on private, chartered river barges.

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Derek Banks, managing director of European Waterways, says that he is already observing increasing interest.

This isn’t surprising seeing as how these vessels offer ideal accommodations for families, with room for anywhere between six and 20 passengers. Guests can cruise Europe’s canals and smaller waterways as well as the less-populated countryside.

“Cruising with European Waterways has always been about taking ‘the path less traveled,’ so much of our outdoor activities already take our guests away from crowded tourist attractions to the more exclusive, less populated settings,” said Banks. “Until travel returns to normal, we are further committed to providing a safe and healthy onboard environment for our guests, with pre-cruise checks for all on-board and the implementation of more stringent cleaning procedures, among other policies.”

Social distancing will likely be the norm for a while in Europe and around the world, and these barges offer the chance to enjoy scenery while still remaining safe.

For the most part, meals are served on board by the master chef and cruises feature exclusive private tours of castles, aristocratic estates and vineyards, plus other excursions, tailored to avoid the crowds.

L’Art de Vivre is the ideal barge for a family vacation. The eight-passenger vessel once carried supplies during World War One. Now, the boat has been completely modernized and cruises the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy, France.

Family-friendly excursions include a visit to the Caves of Arcy-sur-Cure, which features some of the oldest cave paintings in the world, a medieval castle under construction using traditional methods at the Chateau Guedelon; the age of the dinosaurs in Cardo Land; and the fun and wildly eclectic artwork on display at the Fabuloserie Art and Sculpture Museum.

Family charters can also incorporate activities such as tennis, ice-skating and mini-golf as well as kayaking, quad biking and horseback riding.

European Waterways’ Family Charters are available throughout France, the U.K., Ireland, Scotland and Italy.

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