Sponsored by MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises will base MSC Meraviglia, one of its biggest and most impressive ships, in New York starting April 2023, offering three completely distinct round-trip itineraries.
The 5,700-passenger ship will offer seven- and eight-night cruises from New York to the Caribbean starting April 22, all of which include a stop at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the cruise line's private island in The Bahamas.
Starting August 21, MSC Meraviglia will then switch to Bermuda, offering five- and six-night sailings to the island, with several days in port to explore.
As summer begins to fade, the ship will head north starting September 18 on 10- or 11-night itineraries to Canada and New England, just in time for colorful Fall foliage.
It's the ideal distance to sail from New York to the Caribbean and on MSC Meraviglia’s first seven-night sailing on April 22 there's a stop on the way down at Port Canaveral, Florida, for a day at the Orlando theme parks or kayaking and watching for wildlife in the mangroves.
Next stop is Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve (pictured above), the cruise line's 103-acre private island where guests can enjoy a day in paradise. Swim and snorkel among the almost 90 different species of fish that have been recorded around the island, eat al fresco at the Seakers Food Court and enjoy the Caribbean rhythms at beach-themed bars.
Then it's The Bahamas, with a mooring in Nassau to soak up the capital city's charm and admire its colonial-style buildings and pastel-colored wooden shops. Bargaining for hand-made Bahamian souvenirs at Straw Market is fun, or artisan gifts can be found on the wharf at Festival Place. Bay Street is ideal for duty-free luxury goods. Families can also head to Atlantis Resort (pictured above) on Paradise Beach to ride rapids and whizz down slides or book a glass bottom boat ride.
MSC Cruises also operates excursions to Blue Lagoon, a private island where you can reserve a beach cabana for the day or book a dolphin encounter.
Bahamian food reflects Spanish, British and West African cuisine so menus feature conch fritters and citrus salads, rock lobster, chowders and guava duff, a warm sponge with sweet butter rum sauce.
It's not all over yet, with two more sea days to experience the ship on the return sailing to New York with option of a post-cruise stay – which an increasing number of guests are opting to do.
Eight-night cruises include an additional outward sea day and a call to Miami (rather than Port Canaveral) where MSC Meraviglia moors until 10pm. Look for alligators on an Everglades tour or stay in the city to admire the Ocean Drive's Art Deco hotels, Lincoln Road's eclectic shops and, of course, the famous South Beach.
· *Caribbean cruises commence April 22, 2023, and will be seven- and eight nights. At certain times of year it is possible to book back-to-back cruises that span the Caribbean and Bermuda
Sailing from New York to Bermuda takes around 18 hours, so it’s a leisurely way to visit this small, 20-mile by two-mile island where MSC Meraviglia moors at King’s Wharf for three nights (or two nights on a five-night sailing).
Bermuda is an historic British Territory, and the Royal Naval Dockyard with its 19th century fortifications is now home to the impressive National Museum of Bermuda which showcases the island's military past and treasures from centuries-old shipwrecks.
The beautifully restored hill-top Commissioner's House has fabulous sea views and documents 500 years of Bermudian history.
Build in a day at the beach where pink sand and party boats create a unique island vibe with noisy yellow-bellied kiskadees calls fill the cedar and spice berry-scented air.
There are any number of activities on offer, including water skiing, riding a water scooter, windsurfing, sailing or take a mini-cruise to snorkel over coral reefs. Back on land, join a cycling excursion or play an 18-hole round of mini-golf.
There is also the option to take a ferry to the small capital of Hamilton, which has a distinctly British feel even though the houses are painted in sugar pink, primrose yellow and every shade of blue. Front Street, along the water’s edge, has plenty of restaurants and bars to eat and drink al fresco – and look out for the constables who direct traffic wearing their Bermuda shorts.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, in Southampton, overlooks South Shore and Little Sound and is the world's oldest cast iron lighthouse. Its beam can be seen from 40 miles away. A plaque beside the lighthouse commemorates Queen Elizabeth II's visit in 1953.
Trolley tram tours offer an easy way to see more of the city such as Fort Hamilton, Bermuda Cathedral, City Hall and the Bermuda Underwater Explorations Institute which holds the world’s largest shell collection.
On the north tip of the island is UNESCO-listed St George, the longest continuously inhabited English settlement in the New World and home to 17th century Fort St. Catherine and the rarely crowded St Catherine's Beach.
New York is perfectly placed for peeping New England’s fiery autumn leaves and revelling in the wild Atlantic coast’s natural beauty – and look for whales, dolphins and eagles.
A 12-hour call to Boston offers time to explore this modern, dynamic city that’s so rich in history and culture.
Sports fans can tour Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox baseball team, while art lovers can visit the exceptional museums and galleries, including the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that houses Italian Renaissance and Dutch Golden Age paintings.
One of the most beautiful maritime provinces in French Canada is Saint John, New Brunswick, which overlooks the Bay of Fundy, which is known for its high tides; Fundy National Park has trails through the forest. Stay in town to admire the Victorian architecture or tour the coastline which meets mountains, forests and valleys dotted with farms.
MSC Meraviglia sails on to Portland, Maine, where a stroll through cobbled streets brings visitors to Kennebunkport with its stunning beaches and Dock Square for shopping. For lunch, stay ashore to crack a lobster like a local at a waterside restaurant and raise a glass to the town’s three craft breweries. Views of the White Mountains and Portland Head Lighthouse make key photo stops while shoppers can head to boutiques in the Old Port and downtown.
Going north into Canada, Prince Edward Island is known as the "Garden of the Gulf" for its rolling countryside. From Charlottetown's port, visit Green Gables farm, the inspiration for author Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book Anne of Green Gables. The journey also takes in the island’s beaches while travelling through Prince Edward Island National Park before a stop for locally sourced lobster.
On a stroll through historic Charlottetown’s tree-lined avenues and manicured parks look out for street art on the side of buildings as well as sculptures including Gerald Beaulieu’s shiny tuna, Bluefin Bullet on Richmond Street, made of 2,500 spoons; and Ahmon Katz’s Great Blue Heron on the corner of Queen and Water Street, made of steel and stucco.
Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, has a long maritime history and is dominated by the hilltop 18th century star-shaped citadel. Harborfront warehouses along the nearly two-mile boardwalk echo the port’s days as a major trading hub alongside modern shops, restaurants and cafes.
Take a tour to Peggy's Cove, a fishing village with a handful of houses and fishing shacks by the water, best known for its white and red lighthouse where visitors can send post cards from the Post Office inside.
Halifax has strong Titanic connections – Fairview Cemetery is the resting place of 121 passengers, and a tour to the cemetery also stops at the pier from which ships set sail to pick up survivors and bodies; the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic tells the story of the Titanic with photographs, artifacts and the ship's only surviving deckchair.
Sydney, on Cape Breton, is one of the oldest cities in North America and the place to put on hiking boots to walk part of the Cabot Trail (named after John Cabot, the first European to set foot on the island) which crosses the Cape Breton Highlands National Park where mountains meet the sea.
11-night itineraries include an additional call in Newport, Rhode Island, for cliff walks along the rugged Atlantic coastline and tours of Newport’s grand summer cottages dating to America’s Gilded Age. Several of these properties are based on French châteaux, including the elegant Rosecliff, which was built for a Nevada silver heiress and featured in the 1974 film The Great Gatsby.
Updated April 17, 2023