MSC Cruises makes early return to Port St. Maarten

PORT–MSC Cruises’ cruise ship MSC Divina made an unscheduled port call on Tuesday morning. The cruise line was scheduled to return to the destination on March 28, more than two months away.

Port St. Maarten management took the opportunity to welcome the vessel to “The Friendly Island” Tuesday morning. MSC Divina was scheduled to call at a nearby island, but was diverted to St. Maarten due to berthing challenges. Port St. Maarten accepted the vessel’s request as additional berths were available and MSC Divina docked safely.

In a statement to the media on Tuesday, the Port said, “One of the strengths that the destination has had is the ability to cater to impromptu calls due to issues and or concerns at competing ports.

“Our strategic plan is geared towards having more berths available in the future as MSC Cruises in particular will be the fastest growing cruise line. In 2014 MSC launched an investment plan to support the second phase of growth and in April 2016 the cruise line ordered additional vessels for a total investment of nine billion euros for up to 11 new next-generation ships which will come into service starting in 2017 to 2026, making the cruise line the third largest.

“Port St. Maarten has demonstrated to be a reliable partner within the cruise sector by being able to assist where and when needed. This approach will take us a far way. St. Maarten is still a marque destination and we must continue to showcase the efforts of being able to restore the country product and bring it to another and higher level than we were pre-Irma.”

MSC Divina has a gross tonnage of 139,400, a passenger complement of 3,500 and a crew of 1,380. The vessel was constructed from 2010 to 2012 and is the third of four Fantasia-class cruise ships.

Other scheduled ships in port on Tuesday were Harmony of the Seas which carries approximately 6,000 passengers/2,300 crew and Disney Fantasy which carries 4,000 passengers/1,450 crew.

Port St. Maarten management added that this unscheduled port call once again demonstrates that the country is “open for business” and ready to provide that ultimate cruise passenger destination experience.

MSC Cruises will be making 29 port calls for 2018 bringing in approximately 115,000 cruise passengers. It primarily attracts Europeans, but also markets extensively to mainstream North American cruise travellers. The Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line employs 15,000 staff members around the world and is present in 45 countries.

MSC Cruises has a fleet of 12 ships. MSC Cruises is the first global cruise line brand to develop an investment plan of this length and magnitude, spanning a horizon of more than 10 years, from 2014 through 2026. It is the brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, sailing year-round in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Seasonal itineraries cover northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, Cuba and the French Antilles, South America, southern Africa, China and Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.

Source: The Daily Herald