MSC Cruises Introduces industry leading program for shore excursions accessible for all guests

MSC Cruises announced the roll out of its accessible shore excursions program for guests to book in 20 destinations across the Caribbean and Mediterranean

Geneva, Switzerland, November 25, 2019 – MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America, South Africa and the Gulf, today announced the roll out of its accessible shore excursions program to 5 more ports this winter 2019 and 3 additional ports for summer 2020, meaning that these tours will now be available for guests to book in 20 destinations across the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Tours already introduced in 11 ports in the Caribbean and being rolled out to 9 ports in the Mediterranean across winter of 2019 and summer of 2020.

With each guest having different abilities, whether they have a disability, limited mobility or are slow walkers, MSC Cruises wanted to ensure that their guests had the largest variety of shore excursions possible to suit all needs.

This is why MSC Cruises is introducing its Accessible Tours Program, extending the availability of tailored shore excursions for those with reduced mobility. This program offers a unique opportunity to explore a range of the world’s most sought-after destinations without having to worry about restricted access.

These tours and excursions have been created with careful consideration for safety and accessibility, allowing all guests to explore each destination in total comfort, guaranteeing that: 

• Tour routes are completely step-free

• Routes are step-free and accessible to wheelchairs wherever possible

• Only short distances are covered

• Timings are run at a slower pace

• Accessible restrooms with wide doors are planned along the route

Not only this, but family members and friends can join these inclusive tours, with the comfort of small groups lead by professional and compassionate tour guides – experienced in working with limited mobility guests.

Jean-Pierre Joubert, MSC Cruises’ Head of Shore Excursions commented: “MSC Cruises is committed to offer an incredible choice of shore excursions designed to suit all tastes, giving guests the freedom to make the most of every moment ashore. We have always been sensitive to the needs of our guests, and constantly strive to offer the best possible service, meeting international accessibility standards. This program is unique because for the first time we offer accessible tours available in both popular cruise regions of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. By joining these tours, all guests will have the carefree opportunity of enjoying the best of every excursions”.

Highlights of this Accessible Tours Program include:

  • San Juan (Puerto Rico) shore excursion combines the best highlights of San Juan into one accessible tour. Escorted by their own tour guide, guest will enjoy a leisurely stroll in the Old Town, and experience panoramic driving tour of the spectacular old Fort San Cristobal, the breathtaking El Capitolio, the famous Casa Olimpica and other popular landmarks.
  • Ocho Rios (Jamaica) shore excursion includes an exploration of the fascinating historic open-air museum Columbus Park, the famous Kokono Falls Park with beautiful waterfalls, tropical botanical gardens and other island artifacts.
  • Philipsburg and Marigot (St. Maarten): guests will head out to breathtaking scenic drive in both capital cities of St Maarten, tasting their way through the unique Dutch and French heritage of the island with not only Dutch cheeses but also delicious French pastries and the best Rum distilleries of the island.
  • Naples (Italy) shore excursion will lead guests to an unforgettable half-day exploring the 2000-year old Roman city of Pompeii first-hand and a short tour of historic landmarks including Piazza del Plebiscito and the Royal Palace.
  • Valetta (Malta): guests will get to enjoy a scenic drive to the ancient city of Valletta before exploring Mdina, the island’s former capital contained within ancient walls.
  • Marseilles (France): after hill overlooking views of the city, guests will also travel back in time whilst exploring historic landmarks including the Old Port and accessible parts of the 17th-century Fort Saint-Jean.

For more information about MSC Cruises’ Accessible Tours Program please contact AREA Vacations at 770-591-5552 or travel@area-vacations.com. For more information about the author contact Dick Viti.

Carnival Adds Radiance to Galveston

Everything is bigger in Texas – including Carnival Cruise Line – which announced today that it will have four ships sailing year-round from Galveston beginning in 2021.

Building on its position as the World’s Most Popular Cruise Line® and the number one cruise line from Texas, Carnival Cruise Line said that Carnival Radiance will join the Galveston-based fleet in May 2021. In addition, Carnival Breeze will return to Galveston from Port Canaveral, becoming the newest and largest ship to operate a short cruise program from Galveston.  Carnival Dream will shift to six- and eight-day Caribbean voyages while Carnival Vista will continue its popular week-long Caribbean cruises.   

With these four ships, Carnival Cruise Line will carry an estimated 900,000 guests annually from Galveston – more than any other cruise operator – on 235 five- to 14-day sailings a year, providing an unprecedented variety of cruise durations, destinations and amenities from Texas.

“Carnival is already the most popular cruise line from Galveston attracting vacationers from all across the Southwest and beyond. With these enhancements, we’re providing our guests with more voyages, more destinations and more choices from Texas than ever before,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

“As North America’s fourth busiest cruise port, the Port of Galveston is pleased to welcome the Carnival Radiance. Since Carnival made Galveston its homeport almost 20 years ago, more than 7.5 million Carnival Cruise Line passengers have embarked from our wharves,” said Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves CEO and Port Director. “As we grow, we’ll continue to focus on delivering great service to Carnival and its passengers.”

Carnival Radiance to Galveston

Carnival Radiance will launch a new schedule of five- to 14-day voyages from the Port of Galveston beginning on May 14, 2021.  On this route:

  • Five-day cruises depart Sundays and feature the seaside Mexican ports of Cozumel and Progreso or Costa Maya.
  • Three different nine-day options departing Fridays will be offered – one calling at Cozumel, Limon (Costa Rica), and a partial Panama Canal transit or a visit to Colon (Panama), another featuring Key West, Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau, and a third stopping at Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel.
  • Two eight-port, 14-day Carnival Journeys cruises visiting top destinations throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America and the Panama Canal will also be offered departing Oct. 24, 2021 and Jan. 16, 2022.  

Carnival Radiance will undergo an extensive bow-to-stern $200 million renovation next year that will add all of the line’s food, beverage and entertainment innovations, bringing an exciting new option to the Galveston market. Its sister ship, the transformed Carnival Sunrise, debuted earlier this year and has quickly become a very popular addition to the Carnival fleet, which Carnival Radiance is sure to match.  The extensive 38-day renovation of the ship will add a host of new food and beverage outlets including Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, Bonsai Sushi, and Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, and the first Big Chicken restaurant created by Carnival’s Chief Fun Officer, Shaquille O’Neal.  All of the ship’s spaces will be transformed including the water park, youth facilities, retail shops, Cloud 9 Spa and a new Liquid Lounge home to Carnival’s dazzling, high-tech Playlist Productions shows.

            Carnival Radiance will reposition to the Port of Galveston with a 12-day Carnival Journeys Panama Cruise departing Port Canaveral May 2 and arriving in Galveston May 14, 2021.

Fun-Filled Short Cruises to Mexico aboard Carnival Breeze

Carnival Breeze will become the newest and largest ship to operate a short cruise itinerary from Galveston when it kicks off year-round four- and five-day cruises from that port May 5, 2021.   The program includes:

  • Four-day long “weekend cruises” departing Thursdays and featuring a day-long visit to Cozumel.
  • Five-day voyages departing Mondays and Saturdays with stops at Cozumel and either Progreso or Costa Maya.  

Longer Length Cruises from Galveston on Carnival Dream, Carnival Vista

Carnival Dream will shift to a new six- and eight-day cruise schedule from Galveston beginning May 8, 2021. 

  • Six-day cruises visit Costa Maya, Cozumel and Belize or Mahogany Bay.
  • Eight-day cruises feature Key West, Freeport, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. 
  • Carnival Freedom, which currently operates this itinerary, will be deployed to another homeport to be announced shortly.

Carnival Vista will also continue its popular week-long cruise program from Galveston with two different three-port, seven-day western Caribbean options, with stops at:

  • Mahogany Bay, Belize and Cozumel;
  • Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Ocho Rios or Montego Bay.

For more information or to book your next Carnival cruise contact AREA Vacations at 770-591-5552 or travel@area-vacations.com.