MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned global cruise line, announced that MSC Opera, the third of four MSC Cruises’ ships to be renovated under the company’s “Renaissance Program,” re-joined the high seas on Saturday, July 4, and will homeport in Venice for the entire summer season. This positioning further strengthens the offering of MSC Cruises in the eastern Mediterranean for the season.
To meet the demand from guests and potential cruisers, MSC Cruises tailored MSC Opera’s itineraries to feature the best and most beautiful places in the eastern Mediterranean region. Guests sailing on MSC Opera this summer will start their 14-day cruise in Venice and then visit southern Italy and the region of Puglia; mainland Greece as well as its islands; the beautiful Black Sea coast of Romania, Sochi, the Russian Riviera, Turkey, and its cosmopolitan former capital city, the Dalmatian coast of Croatia; and then head back to Venice – the Queen of the Adriatic – a city that is a destination on its own.
Through MSC Cruises’ $273 million “Renaissance Program,” MSC Opera’s enhancements include197 new staterooms, of which 30 have balconies, for a total of 204 balcony staterooms aboard; flexible new dining options with redesigned restaurants and bars and a buffet that is now open 20 hours a day; and more spacious common areas.
In addition, family and children offerings have been renovated with a stunning new outdoor Spray Park – a fun-filled wet zone with interactive jets, slides and ingenious water features that will be enjoyed by children and parents alike; new tailor-made areas for children that have been officially designed, equipped and endorsed by Chicco® and LEGO®; and separate Baby (0-3); Mini (3-6); Juniors (7-11); Young (12-14); and Teens (15-17) clubs.
The Renaissance Program is part of MSC Cruises’ $5.6 billion investment plan launched in 2014, which also includes four brand new ships to be delivered by STX France and Fincantieri, in Italy, between 2017 and 2019, with options for three more by 2022.
More info about the ports and destinations on MSC Opera’s Itinerary:
Bari: the ancient city, facing the entrance of the Adriatic sea, is well known for the quality of its food and how welcoming its inhabitants are. The old city of Bari is a marvel to wander around. On arriving in the heart of Bari’s old city, visitors find the Basilica di San Nicola, consecrated in1197 to house the relics of St. Nicholas plundered a century earlier from southern Turkey.
Athens: a city full of history, guests stopping in Athens can enjoy a visit to the Acropolis, the world-famous UNESCO heritage site, as well as see the Parthenon, one of the world’s most famous temples, and an enduring symbol of ancient Greece and of Athenian democracy. Through a stroll in the streets of Athens, guests can explore this historical and beautiful city with its various street markets, wine shops, souvenir stalls and ancient monuments.
Constanta: the thriving city of Constanta is not only the largest port in Romania, but also one of the most fascinating cities in the country. It offers many places to visit and explore, such as the Danube Delta near Tulcea. It was founded by the Greeks some 2600 years ago on the southern coast of the Black Sea, and, according to Greek mythology, is the port that welcomed Jason, the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece on their return.
Sochi: thanks to its location on the shores of the Black Sea, with a pleasant subtropical climate and warm to hot summers and mild winters, Sochi is the largest resort city of Russia. Much of the monumental architecture of Sochi dates back to the 19th century, while the fortress and temple of Godlik Loo dates back to ancient Byzantine settlements.
Istanbul: as the only city in the world to have been the capital of three major empires (Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman), today Istanbul presents a fascinating mix of different layers of history and traditions with a strong urge for modernity. The museums, churches, palaces, mosques, bazaars and the wonderful natural landscapes seem endless. Apart from the rich historical and cultural background of Istanbul, the cities many attractions, restaurants, nightclubs and shops make it one of the most fascinating destinations on a cruise vacation in the Mediterranean.
Mykonos: as the most popular of the Cyclades Islands in Greece, Mykonos welcomes every year almost one million visitors. Many think of Mykonos only in terms of entertainment, but this wonderful destination offers much more. With waterfront buildings made of wood and painted in different colors, Mykonos is rich in history and natural beauty, and at the same time it is a city with a cosmopolitan character.
Santorini: the largest island of the Cyclades archipelago, Santorini is an iconic destination. The island is the result of more than 3,000 years of volcanic activity and sits above a caldera that can be visited. White houses, beautiful sunshine and beaches, and some of the most stunning sunsets can be experienced in Santorini.
Argostoli/Kefalonia: the capital city of the charming island of Kefalonia, Argostoli is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. Its pristine beaches, luxuriant olive groves and local crafts pleases visitors of this charismatic island.
Dubrovnik: the capital of southern Dalmatia in Croatia, Dubrovnik is considered one of the most beautiful places in the world, as it entered the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979. The “Pearl of the Adriatic” is the gateway to the dramatically scenic Dalmatian region, with many excursions and trips available to MSC guests. The walls of Dubrovnik have also been a popular filming site for the fictional city of King’s Landing in the HBO television series, “Game of Thrones.”