MSC Cruises operates all around the world, serving eight different global regions and arriving in hundreds of destinations. To make this possible, MSC Cruises relies on a fleet of more than 12 ships (with more on the way). We’ve already asked ‘Which Ship Is Right For You?’, but which cruise destinations best suits you? We’d be here all week detailing the plus-points of every port city visited by MSC Cruises, so we’re focusing on just one for each region...
Mediterranean Cruise to Civitavecchia, Italy
We’re big fans of the Med - after all, the M in MSC Cruises actually stands for Mediterranean - and in this region, we call in at around 50 cruise destinations. Also close to our hearts is Italy, where our head office is based, so although this may seem like a blatant attempt to shine the spotlight on our home country, Civitavecchia is a legitimately special cruise destination. Civitavecchia (meaning ‘ancient town’) is the closest port to Rome, sitting just 37 miles north-west of the great city in the central Italian region of Lazio. It’s often considered to be the gateway to Rome and a port call at Civitavecchia is the ideal chance to experience world-famous attractions such as the Sistine Chapel, Forum and Trevi Fountain. Of course, the food in Civitavecchia and Rome is sensational and it goes without saying that you won’t be disappointed by the pizza and pasta served here. There’s much more to Italian cuisine than that though and if you’ve never ventured further than pizza and pasta, this would be an opportune time to try something like supplì - fried rice croquettes stuffed with beef ragout and mozzarella. Italians are big on veal too, so maybe have a go at Saltimbocca alla Romana - veal with prosciutto and sage - or Scaloppine alla romana, which is veal sautéed with fresh baby artichokes. Whether you’re into tasting the local food or seeing the sights, a wealth of excursions have been arranged to help guests make the most of their time in Civitavecchia and Rome. That means you can go pasta tasting in the Eternal City or gather in St. Peter’s Square to attend the Pope’s weekly Angelus.
Northern Europe Cruise - Oslo, Norway
During a cruise in Northern Europe, you’ll have the chance to see magnificent Norwegian fjords and the spectacular Northern Lights. This region is packed with phenomenal cities - Finland’s Helsinki, Latvia’s Riga and Denmark’s Copenhagen to name just three - but we’re going to focus on the Norwegian capital of Oslo. Founded in 1040, Oslo is one of Europe’s fastest-growing cities, peppered with captivating landmarks like the Opera House, the Astrup Fearnley Museum, and Barcode and abuzz with hip fashion and art scenes and cutting-edge food. Its compact city centre makes exploring on foot simple and the entire city is easily accessible thanks to a convenient and refined public transport system. Art fans are spoiled in Oslo, due to Vigeland Park - the world's largest sculpture park made by a single artist - and the National Gallery, which is home to Edvard Munch’s eternally jaw-dropping painting - The Scream.
Caribbean, Cuba & Antilles Cruise - Montego Bay, Jamaica
When people think of ‘paradise’, they often visualise vast stretches of white sand, gorgeous clear blue waters and scorching heat that could melt the back off a scorpion. That’s not too dissimilar to the idyllic scenes you’ll find in the Caribbean. There are more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays in the Caribbean, but we’re centreing on one of the larger islands - Jamaica, specifically Montego Bay. Legend has it that Christopher Columbus anchored his ships here in 1494, “discovering” Jamaica on his way from Cuba. If whiling away the hours on a beach is your idea of heaven, then head to the Doctor’s Cave, perhaps the most famous beach of these shores, or the beaches of Walter Fletcher, Gloucester Avenue and Cornwall. Montego Bay isn’t just about lazing about though, there’s a lively city centre to explore too, defined by Gloucester Avenue, also known as “Hip Strip”, which is lined with many different bars. Take in a bit of history too at St. James Parish Church, an 18th century religious building in Georgian style surrounded by a lush tropical garden.
Dubai, Abu Dhabi & India Cruises - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
More low-key than its exceptionally bonkers sibling Dubai, Abu Dhabi sits just over an hour drive down the coast. With attractions such as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque - one of the world’s biggest and most expensive - the UAE capital can be just as extravagant as Dubai. There’s also the Emirates Palace hotel, Yas Waterworld - a water park that the size of 15 football pitches - and the vast (and fast) Ferrari World theme park. Shopping doesn’t get much more luxury than in Abu Dhabi, with the Galleria on Al Maryah Island and Avenue at Etihad Towers pulling together more than 130 of the world’s most renowned brand outlets under one roof. Local cuisine is often Arabian inspired and the tastebuds of any lamb or chicken fans are in for a treat.
South America Cruises - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina’s capital is sometimes referred to as the ‘Paris of South America’ and a must-see for anyone on a South American cruise with MSC. There’s the chance to walk the world’s longest street: Rivadavia, stretching for 23 miles, but less ambitious would be checking out Casa Rosada (translation: pink house, for obvious reason) - the executive mansion and office of the President of Argentina. Elsewhere, there’s the 14-acre La Recoleta Cemetery, deemed to be one of the world's best and most beautiful cemeteries by the BBC and CNN respectively and resting place of Eva Perón and several Argentinian presidents. Excursions in Buenos Aires will take you on a whistle-stop tour of the city, tango dancing or shopping.
Asia Cruises - Yokohama, Japan
Japan’s second-largest city after Tokyo, Yokohama has one of the world's biggest Chinatowns but also houses some very quaint spots such as Sankeien Garden and Zoorasia - a large well-kept zoo on the city’s outskirts. Yokohama also packs in some leftfield novelties like not one but two museums dedicated to noodles, Hakkeijima amusement park and Kirin Beer Factory, which operates free tours of its brewery. The city is only half an hour south of Tokyo, so naturally, many excursions in Yokohama can shuttle you in for the chance to discover this mega city, be it shopping or some historical sightseeing.
Cruises to the United States & Canada - New York
Like how Frank Sinatra would often end his sets with ‘New York, New York’, we’re bowing out with the Big Apple and seriously, we could have filled this article on this magnificent city alone. Glorious gardens sit right next to dizzyingly high skyscrapers, and the eclectic mixture of neighbourhoods means you can do anything and everything. For sightseers, this is probably about as good as it gets, with the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Empire State Building, Times Square and the 9/11 Memorial. Shoppers can get stuck into Macy’s - the largest department store in the US - the designer discount goldmine that is Century 21, 5th Avenue or the hipster heaven of Bedford Avenue. For entertainment, you won’t find a stronger offering of stage productions, both on and off-Broadway.