Geneva, Switzerland (April 29, 2021) – MSC Cruises revealed today details of the Company’s brand-new itinerary in the Red Sea for fall and winter 2021-2022. These first-time cruises will visit destinations in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, offering guests a chance to immerse themselves in the region’s rich culture, visit some of the world’s best beaches, explore local gems and discover the deep-rooted traditions that date back centuries.
Homeporting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, MSC Magnifica will offer seven-night cruises, starting November 13, 2021 through March 2022. From Jeddah, the ship will call at Aqaba for Petra in Jordan, Safaga for Luxor in Egypt, and then the Saudi ports of AlWajh and Yanbu before returning to Jeddah.
Located at the cross-roads of the three continents of the old world, Saudi Arabia is exceptionally rich in culture, traditions and heritage. The Kingdom offers five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Historic Jeddah and Al-Hijr Archaeological Site in AlUla, both accessible to MSC Magnifica’s guests.
Saudi Arabia is home to striking natural wonders, breath-taking landscapes and untapped archaeological treasures. With year-round sunshine, some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and the thriving marine ecosystem of the Red Sea, the Kingdom is a must-visit this winter.
MSC Cruises will return to Egypt on this itinerary, calling at the historic port of Safaga, where guests will be able to reach Luxor — the world’s largest open-air museum—featuring world-renowned Ancient Egyptian sites. Rounding out the itinerary is a visit to Aqaba in Jordan, a port dating back to 4000 B.C. From there, guests can reach Petra, a famous archaeological site and one of the new seven wonders of the world.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, shared, “As an international cruise line renowned for offering guests unique opportunities to explore and discover the world, it is only natural that we are now making more accessible for our guests yet another brand-new destination. The introduction of Saudi Arabia to our winter program is a one-of-a-kind itinerary as it also offers Egypt and Jordan in an unparalleled combination of sun, beach, tradition and culture. Our guests can discover the untouched beauty of this region to its fullest and go ashore and explore plenty of undiscovered destinations.
“Not to mention that traveling through the Red Sea by cruise ship is one of the most spectacular ways to take in the stunning coastline and enjoy the region’s unique and still untouched beauty of sea and nature.”
And as if that is not enough, as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia prepares to host the inaugural Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021 on December 5 in Jeddah, guests will have the chance to follow this exciting global sports event during their trip aboard MSC Magnifica.
Sales will open on May1 for all future guests. As a benefit to MSC Cruises’ most loyal guests, MSC Voyagers Club members will benefit from an additional 5 percent discount exclusively for a period of 10 days, on top of their usual 5 percent discount.
Mark Robinson, Chief Commercial and Operations Officer at Cruise Saudi, said: “The landmark partnership with MSC Cruises is a perfect starting point on our journey, and aligns with our vision to develop mainstream cruising along the Saudi coastlines with Jeddah as the key homeport that offers a wide variety of pre- and post-cruise stay options. Jeddah benefits from its proximity to Europe and is easily reachable by plane within five hours from most major cities on the continent. Due to its warm weather, Saudi Arabia is an ideal destination for winter holidays and has the potential for year-round cruising.”
Whether looking to explore pristine beaches with crystal blue waters or discover the history and tradition of the Middle East, there is something for everyone to discover.
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA– Homeporting in this vibrant city, guests have their pick of sites to visit. AlBalad, the old town of Jeddah, dates back to the 7th century, boasts beautiful buildings, an ancient souk and a cultural melting-pot, and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Saudi Arabia. Jeddah is also known for its waterfront and modern shopping malls, with entertainment and activities for visitors.
RAS AL-ABYAD, SAUDI ARABIA– Known as ‘Coastal White Head,’ this port city offers azure coral seas and idyllic beaches where guests can unwind, relax and enjoy fresh seafood. With numerous scuba-diving and swimming options, guests can also enjoy their final stop sunbathing on the spotless, private Oryx Beach in front of stunning seascapes.
AQABA FOR PETRA, JORDAN – This city rests on the Red Sea coast and is a haven for divers and history buffs alike. From snorkeling in the Aqaba Marine Park to Mamluk Castle and the Aqaba Archaeological Museum, this destination can satisfy every interest. Aqaba's proximity to Petra offers guests a chance to travel to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, inhabited since as early 7,000 BC, and discover the rare and unique rock-cut architecture.
SAFAGA FOR LUXOR, EGYPT – A short distance up the Nile River from one of Egypt’s most spectacular destinations, the small city of Safaga is the gateway to Luxor. From the ruins of the Luxor and Karnak temples to the unforgettable Necropolis — where guests find the Valley of Kings and the Valley of Queens — this is an unforgettable destination.
AL WAJH, SAUDI ARABIA –Framed by turquoise seas and 62 miles of immaculate beaches on either side, the Red Sea coastal city of AlWajh once served as one of the region’s central shipping ports. Its abandoned AlBalad old town features ancient Hejazi architecture made from Red Sea coral. It now serves as a coastal gateway to AlUla, home to Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madain Salih), Saudi Arabia’s cultural centerpiece and its first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The archaeological site holds more than 110 tombs carved from giant rock formations as well as ancient sites that date back to the 1st millennium BC.
YANBU AL BAHR, SAUDI ARABIA –This major Red Sea port is the final stop on this 7-night cruise. The old town of Yanbu, located within walking-distance from the port, dates back 2,500 years and offers one of the oldest souks, where traders would come from places as far as Africa to sell their goods. The cityis known as “the diving capital of Saudi Arabia” and has become an increasingly attractive tourist destination due to its spectacular white sand shores and lively coral reefs, offering opportunities for diving, snorkeling and water activities in the Saudi Red Sea.
In addition, on their first day of the cruise guests will be able to enjoy the ultimate beach experience when the ship calls in the region of Yanbu and spend the day soaking in the sun on a spotless, private beach reserved exclusively for them.
MSC Magnifica, one of MSC Cruises’ most elegant ships
One of MSC Cruises’ most popular mid-size ships, MSC Magnifica is elegantly design with relaxed refinement, a high ratio of balcony staterooms, large dining areas with four restaurants and 11 bars, a pool with a sliding roof, a spectacular theater, full-scale casino, nightclub with a panoramic view and activities including a 4D cinema.
To find out more about MSC Magnifica visit here.
MSC Virtuosa Adds Calls to Saudi Arabia for Winter 2021 Program In The Gulf
MSC Virtuosa will also be making her debut in Saudi Arabia as her winter 2021 program in the Arabian Gulf has been enriched with calls in the port of Dammam, visiting AlAhsa oasis, another UNESCO World Heritage site. MSC Virtuosa will spend her first winter season homeporting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. From there, the ship will sail to the nearby modern metropolis of Abu Dhabi, and then to Sir Bani Yas Island, where guests can discover an array of wildlife or bask in the sun on immaculate beaches, all exclusive to MSC Cruises guests on the days which the ship is in port. The ship also calls at Doha, the futuristic capital of Qatar, before returning to Dubai with for overnight stay.
To find out more about MSC Virtuosa visit here
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.