Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review: MSC

Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s
Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review: MSC

MSC SINFONIA. Photo courtesy MSC Cruises
MSC MELODY. Photo courtesy MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises has operated winter season cruises from South Africa since the mid-1990’s in association with charters from local operator Starlight Cruises.  In May, MSC took over that operation renaming it MSC Starlight Cruises.  MSC operates liner voyages at the beginning and end of each season between Genoa and Cape Town.  The service is provided by two ships, the 1,062 passenger MSC MELODY (ex ATLANTIC, STARSHIP ATLANTIC, MELODY) and the 1,554 passenger MSC SINFONIA (ex EUROPEAN STARS).  Rather than go to South America during the winter as it has done in the past, the MSC LIRICA will now spend the season based in Abu Dhabi.  Dubai also serves as an alternative port of embarkation.

MSC POESIA in Tórsnhavn, Faroe Islands.Photo © Kalle Id 2011

In North America, the 92,627 gross ton MSC POESIA returned to operate fall foliage trips in New England and Canada, followed by winter season cruises in the Caribbean.  The 2004-built MSC OPERA suffered a complete power failure on May 14th while cruising in Scandinavian waters.  The fault was in an electrical panel, and partial power was restored the following afternoon.  The 58,600 gross ton ship was towed to Nynamshamn, Sweden and guests were flown home.  The subsequent cruise was cancelled, with a return to service on May 27th.  The ship spent the summer cruising from Southampton.  In happier news, the 12th and newest ship in the MSC fleet, the 140,000 gross ton MSC DIVINA was floated out at the STX Europe shipyard at Saint Nazaire, France on September 3rd.  When completed in May, 2012, the ship will carry 4,363 passengers.  Not surprisingly, the order for a near-sistership for the Libyan Government has been cancelled, although MSC may decide to acquire the partially completed vessel, currently known by the yard number X32.

MSC OPERA. Photo courtesy MSC Cruises.

Thanks to Kalle Id, Martin Cox

Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake
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