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Back to the Med for MSC Divina in summer 2015 before US return

MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises wants MSC Divina to entice North Americans to the Med
MSC Divina, which became MSC Cruises' first ship to sail year-round from the US, is going back to the Mediterranean in a year's time, for the summer season. The ship will sail seven-night cruises with the option to embark at Civitavecchia (Rome) or Barcelona, May 16 through Oct. 3, 2015.

MSC Divina is currently operating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from PortMiami, which will continue through April 2015.

'After exposing MSC Divina to thousands of guests in the Caribbean, [we found] customer surveys are showing an increased desire for North Americans to sail on board MSC Divina in the Mediterranean,' according to Rick Sasso, president and ceo of MSC Cruises USA.

Sasso said enhancements made at the start of the Caribbean season to ready MSC Divina for the North American market have paid off, leading to the decision to maintain the on-board product designed for US preferences in the Mediterranean—which he called 'the hottest and most desired vacation destination by North Americans today.'

MSC Divina will redeploy from Miami to Italy on April 26, 2015, stopping at Bermuda and New York, then continuing on to Ponta Delgada, Lisbon, Cadiz, Barcelona, Naples and Civitavecchia. Weekly cruises until October will visit La Spezia, Cannes, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona and Naples. While in La Spezia, MSC Divina will offer late-night stays, facilitating visits to the nearby cities of Pisa, Florence, Portofino and Cinque Terre.

Passengers will be able to embark at Civitavecchia on Saturdays or Barcelona on Wednesdays, which MSC said would give outstanding pre- and post-cruise opportunities and ample airlift from the United States and Canada.

In October 2015, after completing the Mediterranean season with a special 10-night cruise, MSC Divina will enter drydock in Europe to receive enhancements for the North American market before returning to South Florida for a third season of seven-night Caribbean cruises starting in November 2015.

'We are very excited to extend to our travel agent partners the ability to now offer the best of MSC Divina in both the Caribbean and the Mediterranean,' said Ken Muskat, evp sales, public relations and guest services for MSC Cruises USA. Continuing the 'Serving You' commitment to the trade, MSC will be offering extensive training on how to best sell MSC Divina in the Mediterranean, he added, and will provide online toolkits with marketing and selling materials, and launch a new e-learning online tool to 'ensure our partners are completely confident selling the MSC brand in Europe,'

Michelle Fee, ceo and co-founder of Cruise Planners, the giant home-based agent network, called the decision 'opportune' given that MSC Divina has quickly established a name in the North American market, and demand for a North American product in the Mediterranean is increasing. She said MSC Divina provides a comfort to the market that can now be extended to other destinations.

Sales open for past MSC Divina passengers on April 29 and to the general public on May 1. Bookings made by July 31 will be eligible for a balcony upgrade plus on-board credit.