PORT ST. MAARTEN – The cruise ship MSC Magnifica made its inaugural call on Thursday, January 17th– the second cruise ship for the New Year – and was welcomed by Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson and Port St. Maarten representatives where the official plaque and welcome pleasantries were exchanged. This is the second vessel of MSC Cruises to make an inaugural call at Port St. Maarten within the past two weeks.
“It was a pleasure once again for me to welcome to Port St. Maarten another cruise ship that has never been here before. It is testament to the hard work of Port St. Maarten Management and Staff whereby our cruise partners continue to add the destination to their cruise itineraries.
“Without a doubt, we have to continue to do our best to provide experiences that cruise passengers find amazing and would like to come back to the island to spend more time. The Government and the port are working diligently to grow our cruise numbers for 2019-2020 and we are on the right track where this is concerned,” Minister Stuart Johnson said on Thursday.
The MSC Magnifica is currently on MSC Cruises first 119-day world cruise, considered the ‘First Round-the-World Relay Race at Sea,’ and Port St. Maarten is one of 49 different destinations in 32 countries that the vessel and its passengers are visiting.
The cruise ship passengers started their cruise on January 8, from Barcelona, Spain (Mediterranean) and took them to the Caribbean, and thereafter through the Panama Canal and over the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, through the Gulf and back to Europe at the end of the 119-day cruise. Cruise guests would have covered six continents, traveling 32,260 nautical miles and crossing 24 time zones.
The MSC Magnifica is part of the Musica-class cruise ship operated by MSC Cruises and is the fourth ship to be built along the Musica class design. The vessel was constructed by STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire.
“We were very pleased to welcome the Captain, guests and crew onboard MSC Magnifica to Port St. Maarten on Thursday, as the vessel is currently on a world cruise.
“This is an incredible cruise of discovery and a journey that has taken them to St. Maarten, the ‘Friendly Island.’ We are proud that our destination is one of the 49 where passengers were able to make memorable experiences while on-island and capturing all that the island has to offer,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Thursday.
MSC Magnifica has a gross tonnage of 95,128 tons; has 13 decks; 964 feet long, and a beam of 106 feet. The ship carries over 3,600 passengers and over 1,000 crew.
MSC Cruises, is a Swiss-based and is considered the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line. The company, which grew by 800% since 2004, carried two million guests in 2017 and reported strong financial results with a turnover of $2.2 billion.
MSC Cruises has deep Mediterranean roots employing over 23,700 staff globally and selling cruise vacations in 70 countries around the world.
MSC Cruises’ 15 ships boast a host of cutting-edge innovations and the latest technologies, and its global fleet is one of the youngest at sea. The fleet was born of a €6 bn investment program launched in 2003 and after successful completion of the first investment phase, the Company launched a second phase investment worth €11.6 bn that will see the fleet expand to 25 mega-cruise ships by 2026. MSC Cruises is the first global cruise line brand to develop an investment plan of such length and magnitude, according to company information.
MSC Cruises is the cruise line with the highest passenger capacity on order. An additional ten cruise ships are due to join its’ fleet by 2026. In addition to the upcoming four Meraviglia and two Seaside ships, these will include four World Class vessels. With 205,000 GT and capacity for 6,761 guests, this new class of cruise ships will bring a new generation of LNG-powered engines that will strongly minimize their environmental footprint.
MSC Cruises 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, South America, southern Africa, China and Abu Dhabi, Dubai and India.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister Stuart Johnson (4thfrom left) along with representatives of Port St. Maarten and the Captain of MSC Magnifica on Thursday.