Geneva, Switzerland (April 22, 2021) — MSC Cruises today announced that this summer guests of MSC Seaside will be able to enjoy an exclusive private beach experience in Taranto, Puglia during their cruise. Taranto was recently announced as one of two brand new destinations on MSC Seaside’s itinerary in sunny southern Italy, with the second being Siracusa in Sicily.
MSC Seaside will spend a season in the Mediterranean, marking the first time that the iconic MSC Cruises ship will sail in the region. Designed to help guests enjoy the outdoors, MSC Seaside is known as the ship that follows the sun, connecting guests with the sea. The ship’s outdoor spaces are some of the most generous at sea — Ideal for the warm weather of the Mediterranean summer — and with a host of innovative features, guests are treated to a one-of-a-kind cruise vacation.
MSC Seaside will join the Company’s flagship MSC Grandiosa in the Mediterranean and welcome back guests starting May 1. MSC Seaside’s brand-new itinerary of 7-night cruises will call at Genoa, Valetta in Malta, Siracusa, Taranto and Civitavecchia.
Under MSC Cruises’ current health and safety protocol, ashore visits are possible only as part of a protected excursion, so that guests can discover and explore the different attractions while maintaining a safe social bubble. However, since a summer vacation would not be complete without a visit to the beach, MSC Cruises has developed a special offering for Taranto where MSC Seaside guests can spend a day at a beach safely, exclusively for the use of MSC Cruises guests.
MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato commented, “As we continue to offer one of the safest ways to take a holiday, we knew that we needed to make sure that we delivered on all of the elements of a summer holiday and this meant finding a way to enable our guests to also spend a day at the beach, whilst ensuring that the same high standards of health and safety were implemented ashore as they are on board. We have worked to privatize three lidos with all the facilities of a beach club so that our guests can enjoy this beautiful stretch of coast in Puglia, close to Taranto. With this, we have also established a blueprint for this type of experience, and we will now work to introduce more private beach experiences at other destinations this summer.”
MSC Seaside guests can enjoy an exclusive beach experience in Taranto
Situated in the southern part of Italy in Puglia — one of the most famous and beautiful regions in the charming and sunny South of Italy — the historic port of Taranto is an undiscovered gem. MSC Cruises guests will be able to enjoy a day relaxing day at a Blue Flag beach that offers fine sand and a gentle southern breeze at the edge of the crystal blue waters of the Ionian Sea.
Three lidos on the Marina di Taranto will be exclusively available for MSC Cruises guests on the day that the ship is in port, and “bubble transfers” will be on hand to take guests to the beach and back to the ship at fixed times throughout the day. The lidos are equipped with convenient beach club facilities — with umbrellas and lounge chairs, a bar and restaurant, bathroom facilities, showers and changing rooms. Guests will have peace of mind that the health and safety measures at the beach will follow the same high standards as on board — all they need do is relax and enjoy the sun, sand and sea.
Mr Onorato continued, “We are very pleased to be able to introduce yet another new destination with Taranto to our itineraries this summer. We have been working in close collaboration with the local authorities to offer a range of different protected shore excursions to enable our guests to discover this beautiful part of Italy, offering something for all types of traveler from visits to historic sites, taking in the stunning countryside through to enjoying the regional gastronomy and of course, a day at the beach.”
A range of different protected shore excursions are available in Taranto, including:
- Taranto City Tour: Guests will discover the "city of the two seas," as Taranto is often referred to. Founded by the Greek in the VIII century B.C., Taranto was one of the most important cities in Magna Graecia and traces of the Greek colonization are still left today.
- The "Sassi" In Matera: Visitors can see the city of the wonderful "Sassi" caves, and the first town in the world to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. These caves were inhabited from the Neolithic times right up until 1952. Perhaps because of its unique and tangible history, the atmosphere here is extraordinary and the place exudes a mystic air.
- Alberobello: Famous for the whitewashed trulli buildings, this town in the Puglia region forms the top of the "heel" of the boot of Italy. Thanks to its distinctive round stone houses with conical roofs, known as "trulli," Alberobello was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1996. This tour includes a guided walk through the streets of this unusual village.
- Lecce, the famous Baroque town: Cruisers enjoy a visit to a place that is often called "the Florence of the south," the lovely old Apulian town of Lecce, which was influenced and shaped by periods of Roman, Greek, Ostrogoth and Norman rule.
- Art and Flavors of Puglia: Grottaglie is the first destination in this discovery of Puglia's art and traditions. Visitors enjoy a guided walk around the city center en route to the ceramic district to visit a ceramic workshop and admire the famous pottery Grottaglie is known for.
- Ostuni and its oil mill: "The white lady" stands on three hills in the area of Murge. It was an important Greek – Roman city in the first century AD. The picturesque medieval village with its white houses, winding streets and cobbled alleyways dominates the plains below. The tour includes a visit to a typical oil mill with a tasting session of olive oil.
MSC Seaside to call another new destination, Siracusa in Sicily
MSC Seaside will also call at another new destination for MSC Cruises, the Sicilian port of Siracusa where guests can discover the rich historical and archaeological sites in this area, including the Greek theater of Siracusa the biggest ever built in Sicily and one of the largest in the Greek world or immerse themselves in the beautiful countryside and baroque cities where the world-famous Inspector Montalbano films are shot. For those seeking the perfect panoramas, experience Europe’s largest volcano Mount Etna with thrilling and unforgettable views and the ancient splendors of beautiful Taormina.
MSC Cruises’ exclusive experiences for guests extend to The Bahamas at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve
Those looking to cruise in The Bahamas can look forward to MSC Cruises’ expansive private island destination, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. The island — exclusive to MSC Cruises guests — surrounded by 64 square miles of marine reserve, offering guests a unique opportunity to discover local marine life, soak up the spirit of Bahamian culture and reconnect with themselves and each other.
Ocean Cay offers guests over two miles of white sand beaches to relax beside crystal blue waters with a wide selection of ocean discovery activities like stand-up paddle boarding day and night, kayaking, snorkeling and more. For wellness and relaxation, visitors can book an oceanside spa treatment at The Spa at Ocean Cay, try beach yoga, or simply book private cabanas along the beach for the day. For a snack, cruisers can head to the Beach Shack food trucks or grab a sweet treat at the Smiling Fish & Coffee Bar. And, with ships frequently docked at the island from early morning into the evening — and in many instances overnight — guests can watch the sunset at a beachside picnic or star gaze.
MSC Seaside, one of MSC Cruises’ most iconic ships
MSC Seaside rewrote the book on cruise ship design, with an industry-first design that combined indoor and outdoor areas to connect guests with the sea like never before with generous outdoor spaces, deck space and pools. The waterfront boardwalk, located closer to the sea on Deck 8 is a unique seafront promenade where guests can relax, sunbathe or sip cocktails. The ship features the MSC Yacht Club for those looking for exclusivity and privacy with the facilities of a private club and a 24/7 butler service. This ship is specifically designed for warmer weather and is best enjoyed outdoors, making this the perfect ship for the start of summer in the Mediterranean when the climate is at its best.
MSC Seaside’s current itinerary has been extended through to the end of July along with MSC Grandiosa’s current itinerary. MSC Seaside and MSC Grandiosa itineraries are currently available to residents from Schengen countries and Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania.
In the U.S., MSC Cruises will only restart operations when the time is right, following approval by the CDC and other relevant authorities across the region in observance of their requirements and guidelines.
For the most up to date information on MSC Cruises’ health and safety measures visit www.msccruisesusa.com/health-and-safety
For additional information on MSC Seaside, visit here.
About MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises is the world’s third largest cruise brand as well as the leader in Europe, South America, the Gulf region and Southern Africa with more market share in addition to deployed capacity than any other player. It is also the fastest growing global cruise brand with a strong presence in the Caribbean, North America and the Far East markets.
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC Cruises one of the two brands that sit within the Cruises Division of MSC Group, the leading privately held Swiss-based shipping and logistics conglomerate with over 300 years of maritime heritage. MSC Cruises — the contemporary brand — has a modern fleet of 18 vessels combined with a sizeable future global investment portfolio of new vessels. The fleet is projected to grow to 23 cruise ships by 2025 with options for six vessel orders in place through 2030.
MSC Cruises offers its guests an enriching, immersive and safe cruise experience inspired by the Company’s European heritage, where they can enjoy international dining, world-class entertainment, award-winning family programs and the very latest user-friendly technology on board. To learn more about MSC Cruises’ itineraries and experience on board its ships please see here.
The Company’s number one priority has always been the health and safety of its guests and crew, as well as the communities at the destinations its ships serve. In August 2020, MSC Cruises implemented a new comprehensive and robust health and safety protocol to become the first major line to return to sea. To learn more about MSC Cruises’ health & safety protocol please see here.
MSC Cruises has long been committed to environmental stewardship with a long-term goal to achieve zero emissions for its operations. The Company is also a significant investor in next-generation environmental marine technologies, with the objective to support their accelerated development and availability industry wide. To learn more about the Company’s environmental commitment please see here.
Finally, to learn more about the MSC Foundation, MSC Group’s own vehicle to lead, focus and advance its conservation, humanitarian and cultural commitments please see here.
 The iconic Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognized voluntary awards for beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators. In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.
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