Geneva, Switzerland, 22 April 2015 – MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and fourth largest global player in the industry, announced today that it has suspended remaining 2015 calls in Ukraine and Egypt, replacing them with a number of choice Mediterranean alternatives.

In response to clear market demand, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera, MSC Fantasia and MSC Musica will, from autumn 2015 to winter 2016, variously incorporate the Greek islands of Rhodes and Crete, as well as Cyprus and Israel into their sailings. These itinerary changes attest to MSC Cruises’ permanent focus on the safety of guests and crew – the number one priority at all times.

Enjoy the majestic coastline of the Black Sea and the city of Nesebar, where its abundance of historical buildings prompted UNESCO to assign it World Heritage Site status. Discover the culture and customs of Bulgaria at the beautiful ancient town of Sozòpol, a fascinating seaside town built on millennia of tumultuous history. MSC Sinfonia, as part of her two 12-night sailings out of Genoa, will call Burgas, Bulgaria, delivering guests to the doorsteps of these remarkable towns.
Travellers will discover the beauty of Rhodes, dubbed “the island of the Knights” after the Templars who once reigned there, and another UNESCO World heritage Site. Visitors will admire the ancient Grand Master Palace and the impressive archaeological site of Lindos. MSC Opera and MSC Fantasia will call Rhodes, Greece, the gateway to this Mediterranean paradise and eponymous capital of the island.

In addition, MSC Cruises is offering a taste of the cradle of Western civilization when calling at Heraklion, the port that unlocks Crete’s myriad charms. Follow the path of the Minoans at the Knossos Palace whilst taking in the food and folklore of this breathtaking Aegean island. MSC Opera and MSC Fantasia will call Heraklion in autumn and winter 2015-2016, while MSC Sinfonia will call there during a Grand Voyage to Durban, South Africa, in November 2015. MSC Musica will also call in Crete on her own Grand Voyage from Dubai to Venice, in April 2016.

For a perfect blend of relaxation and mythology, take in the wonders of Aphrodite’s Rock, birthplace of the Greek goddess of love; or visit Apollo’s Temple and the ancient site of Pafos. For this, the port of call will be Limassol in Cyprus, a sunny destination all year round, where MSC Musica will be call during her Grand Voyage to Dubai, in November 2015.

MSC Cruises’ offer is further enhanced with the opportunity to discover the Negev desert, the Dead Sea and the magnificence of the Fortress of Masada from the Israeli port of Eilat, which lies at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on the Gulf of Aqaba. MSC Sinfonia’s guests can enjoy the city and its surroundings as part of their Grand Voyage to Durban, this November.

In addition to allowing MSC Cruises to offer an expanded range of destinations to our guests, whilst maintaining the spirit of the original itineraries, the changes announced today also reflect the Company’s ongoing focus on safety for passengers and crews alike – our number one priority at all times. Indeed, in light of the current geo-political situation, ports of call in Egypt and Ukraine unfortunately needed to be for the time being substituted until they are again perceived to be safest in the eyes of consumers. The new destinations also allow MSC Cruises to address market request for availability of an expanded range of destinations in the region to cruise guests.

Increased frequency in the Canary Islands
As part of this communication MSC Cruises revealed that, in response to the high demand, MSC Opera will increase the frequency of her itinerary calling the archipelagos of the Canary Islands, Spain and Madeira, Portugal with an overnight stay in Funchal/Madeira for her schedule in the Canary Islands during the winter 2016.

Another sought-after destination in the region is Casablanca in Morocco, the gateway to discover the Moroccan desert, Marrakech or Agadir. MSC Cruises will call Casablanca four times in the winter of 2016, offering travellers the possibility to take a closer look at one of the most fascinating regions in the world.
In one cruise enjoy the majestic expanse of the Sahara Desert and the bustling souks of Marrakech and Agadir. And the stunning vistas under clear skies and constant spring-like temperatures of the Canary Islands’ will provide the perfect respite from the European winter.

Take time to discover Tenerife’s Teide volcano which, as the highest point in Spain at 3,718-metres, is rich in myths and legends. From sand dunes to pine forests, from dry, rocky landscapes to lush banana and tropical fruit plantations, every corner of these destinations is a new world to be explored. On a two-day stay in Madeira guests will discover Funchal, which dramatically overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, with its exotic gardens, palm-fringed seafront and volcanic black sand beaches.

MSC cruises offers guests the unique possibility to combine both itineraries and spend a 14-night cruise aboard, for an inimitable taste of Spain, Portugal and Morocco from the comfort of the newly enhanced MSC Opera.