|In another big boost to New York City's status as the northeast's premier -- well, only -- port for year-round cruising, Italy-based MSC Cruises announced this week that it would base a ship there beginning in spring 2007.|
The announcement, made at an event in New York, was otherwise uneventful, as the line wasn't prepared to discuss either specific ship deployment or itineraries.
Still, the commitment to New York gives folks yet another option for homeport cruising to warm-weather areas, particularly during the winter months. Already, Norwegian Cruise Line, the pioneer of contemporary New York-based sailings, has maintained two ships there for the past few years. In 2006, Holland America's new Noordam, which debuts in early February, will "winter" from the Big Apple.
MSC Cruises, one of the few European-based lines not swallowed up by Carnival Corporation, also boasts one of the most aggressive new-build campaigns in the industry. MSC has seven ships currently in service and will be launching a whole series of new ones in the next few years. MSC Musica debuts in 2006, MSC Orchestra premieres in 2007 and the line's first ever post-Panamax duo -- the 133,500-ton MSC Fantasia and the MSC Serenata -- launch in 2008 and 2009 respectively.