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Crown Cruise Vacations | June 23, 2024

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 Second MSC ship to cruise out of Port Canaveral

 Second MSC ship to cruise out of Port Canaveral
Jackie Sheckler Finch

MSC will be expanding its presence at Port Canaveral with a second ship. MSC Grandiosa will double vacation options from Central Florida beginning in December of 2025. MSC Grandiosa will be joining guest-favorite MSC Seashore.

“The winter 2025-2026 season will mark our largest presence in the U.S. to date, and our expansion at Port Canaveral is a big part of that,” Rubén A. Rodriguez, president, MSC Cruises USA, said in a news release.

MSC Grandiosa will offer alternating 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Meanwhile, MSC Seashore will sail 3-and 4-night cruises to Nassau and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the line’s private island in The Bahamas.

“Ever since we started sailing from Port Canaveral in 2021, our guests have told us they love how convenient that makes it to experience MSC Cruises’ unique international flavor,” Rodriguez said.

One of MSC Cruises Meraviglia-plus class ships, MSC Grandiosa will become the line’s largest ship to homeport at Port Canaveral when she arrives next year. The ship will offer 2,421 staterooms, 10 restaurants, five pools and nine hot tubs and a large Broadway-style theater and Carousel Lounge for nightly entertainment.

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

“We are honored that MSC Cruises chose Port Canaveral for the North American debut of their magnificent MSC Grandiosa,” Capt. John Murray, CEO, Port Canaveral, said in a news release.

“We are so proud of our cruise partner and their tremendous growth in the United States,” Murray said. “Expanding their homeport fleet at Port Canaveral underscores their confidence in our partnership and shared commitment to success. We look forward to welcoming all of their valued cruise guess to our beautiful port.”

Over the next 12 months, MSC Cruises will make enhancements to Ocean Cay’s guest amenities and experiences to support the cruise lines future growth. With more than two miles of pristine white sand across eight world class beaches, Ocean Cay is surrounded by sweeping vistas of crystal blue waters.

“We know people sailing from Central Florida want options, and we’re delighted to offer them two of our most modern and glamorous ships with itineraries that will appeal to everyone from first-time to seasoned cruisers,” Rodriguez said.

New Ocean Cay enhancements will include expanded excursion center to support water activities and island tours plus additional food and beverage facilities including a second food hall and larger bars.

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

Additionally, guests can expect enhanced swimming areas on Ocean Cay, including a new kids’ lagoon alongside improvements to their popular main lagoon. Ocean Cay is also home to the MSC Foundation’s Super Coral Program, which aims to restore nearby coral reefs and contribute to conservation knowledge and initiatives worldwide. The beautiful spot was once an industrial wasteland in the Bahamas, an artificial island built by dredging in the late 1960s.

The “island” was a former sand extraction site littered with rusting industrial junk. Coral reefs surrounding the island had been severely damaged. But MSC saw the potential and came onboard.

MSC Cruises bought the island and spent years transforming it into the beauty it is today. To date, MSC has spent $400 million to create the Marine Reserve. It has removed 1,500 tons of scrap metal and waste. It also planted 75,000 native plants and shrubs and 4,600 trees to the 95-acre island.

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

More than 400 coral reefs were relocated and the waters surrounding the island are now a protected coral nursery spanning 64 miles.

To make it entirely self-sufficient, Ocean Cay has a water treatment plant and solar panels. MSC calls it “A sustainable destination where guests can connect with nature.”

Just 65 miles south of Miami in the Bimini chain of islands, the island started welcoming visitors in December 2019. MSC’s long-term goal is for the island to become a base for marine biologists to conduct research into coral restoration


Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch

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