MSC Cruises 2nd Ship in Cuba

(6 a.m EST) -- MSC has today confirmed that it will add a second ship in Cuba for the winter 2016-2017 season. MSC Armonia will join MSC Opera in Havana from November 2016 to meet rising demand for Caribbean cruises centred on Cuba.

MSC Armonia will sail two separate seven-night itineraries that encompass overnights in Havana and stops in Central American and Caribbean destinations including Costa Maya, Mexico, Belize City, Belize, and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The news first came to light at a media briefing about the newly refurbished MSC Lirica on November 10 when CEO Gianni Onorato said MSC Cruises was "planning to add a second ship in Cuba from winter 2016".

Onorato today confirmed the announcement from Geneva and said "With no less than nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a long-held tradition of hospitality, Cuba has all the makings of a top world cruise destination. MSC Cruises is honoured to be able to support the further development of this huge potential, and we're very thankful to the Cuban authorities for their ongoing cooperation in this regard".

Later this month, MSC Cruises will become the first global cruise line to homeport in Cuba. MSC Opera will set sail from Havana to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Mexico, including two nights in the Cuban capital.

--By Rachel Beard, U.K. Editor