Popular with cruise fans who want to holiday beyond the Mediterranean is MSC Cruises’ series of Grand Voyages which cross the Atlantic to Africa, South America and the Caribbean, a 15-night Genoa to Martinique voyage, for example, starting at a bargain $2758 for two sharing a cabin.
“Extended cruises from one continent to another with multiple days at sea, these transatlantic voyages evoke memories of a bygone era,” said Lynne Clarke, managing director of MSC Cruises Australia and New Zealand, “when the journey was as important as the destination and when a voyage meant travelling in comfort and in style, at a slower, more relaxing pace.
“Such voyages present the perfect opportunity to experience a truly diverse range of cultures, people and places on one single journey,” she said.
During this upcoming Northern Hemisphere winter’s itineraries, guests’ journeys of discovery will extend beyond visits to destinations through MSC’s updated lecture program and regionally inspired entertainment and cuisine nights.
Historical and cultural lecture programs
First of all, two fascinating lecture series have been added to the 2012 grand voyage programme. A ‘behind the scenes’ lecture series will explore MSC history, navigation and ship engineering, while a fascinating programme of history lectures presented by experts from top European universities will be tailored to each itinerary in English, German or Portuguese. Guests will learn not only about the history, geography and culture of each destination they visit, but will be transported back in time to the old days of sea travel, discovering the dawn of early navigation along the same routes. Lectures which include titles such as South Africa’s Tumultuous Centuries; Casablanca, A City of Spies; Don’t Cry for Me Buenos Aires and Blackbeard, Calico Jack, and Long John Silver: the notorious piracy of the Caribbean will bring destinations and their stories vividly to life.
Delicious culinary journeys
A combined dining and entertainment programme will take guests on some delightful culinary journeys. Every detail has been taken into account, with cocktails, flair bartending demonstrations, aperitivo, cooking shows and special menus in the restaurants all inspired by the local traditions of ports visited on the itinerary.
When a ship calls in Casablanca, guests will be treated to a delightful Moroccan themed evening including a bazaar, a delicious North African themed menu and a screening of the much loved classic film Casablanca. Brazilian night will be a carnival for all of the senses, with numerous themed cocktails including “One Million Brazilian Colours” and dinner menus including typical Brazilian fish and meat dishes. On fabulous French evenings, a typical aperitivo will be available in a ‘French corner’ of each bar, followed by a rich menu in the restaurant to complete the gastronomic experience.
Certain countries that aren’t included in itineraries will also be celebrated during days at sea. During an Italian themed day at sea, for instance, guests can watch ice cream making demonstrations, attend a Nutella party and enjoy an Italian wine tasting session, while during a British themed night on board they can sample some of Britain’s best whiskies.
Entertainment and enrichment
And the sensory pleasures don’t stop there. Unique to MSC Grand Voyages, five classical concerts will also take place during each cruise, with performances including works from Mozart, Strauss, Verdi, Puccini, Italian opera classics and more. Highlights include Musica in Maschera, an Italian association that organizes classical concerts and operas in Venice and whose director is maestro violinist Francesco Manfrin on board MSC Fantasia and MSC Lirica, as well as Maestro Janos Acs, conductor of Luciano Pavarotti and the three Tenors, performing together with Brazilian violinist Tania Camargo Guarnieri on board MSC Opera.
Grand Voyage Itineraries for 2013 include:
March 28, 2013, MSC Magnifica will leave Santos in Brazil, on an 18-night voyage to Germany’s Hamburg visiting Buzios, Salvador and Recife (Brazil), Arrecife (Canary Islands), Cadiz and La Coruna (Spain), UK’s Dover and Amsterdam, priced from $2758 per couple.
On April 15, 2013, MSC Sinfonia will leave Cape Town on an 18-night voyage bound for Genoa, visiting such fascinating ports as Walvis Bay in Namibia, Senegal’s Dakar, Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Funchal in Madeira Islands, Malaga in Spain and Civitavecchia (Rome), priced from 2758 per couple.