This winter MSC Cruises is offering holidaymakers the opportunity to cruise through Northern Europe. This is the first time the cruise line is offering a winter programme in the region.
MSC Cruises has confirmed a new Northern Europe itinerary for this winter. This marks the first time ever the cruise line is offering travelers a chance to explore some of the best cosmopolitan cities, medieval culture and quaint villages in winter.
MSC Magnifica will offer 7-night cruises visiting five of Europe’s most popular cities – the Northern Pearls. The ship will visit Hamburg (Germany), IJmuiden/Amsterdam (Netherlands), Zeebrugge for Bruges and Brussels (Belgium), Le Havre for Paris (France) and Southampton for London (UK). Embarkation will be possible in each port, ensuring that there are plenty of convenient connections close for guests. And with extended stays in port of up to 12 hours, guests can really make the most of their time ashore.
While temperatures may not be as hot, winter is one of the best times of year to visit Northern Europe. The cities are not as busy with tourists, the holiday season brings festive decorations and Christmas markets create a magical atmosphere and many of the landscapes are transformed into winter wonderlands! This is also a unique opportunity to visit some of Europe’s capitals all in one trip.
The Northern Pearls
Hamburg (Germany) is renowned for its elegant boulevards, stately buildings, and emerald green parks. In November and December the city offers no less than 30 Christmas markets, offering plenty of opportunity to sip on mulled wine or nibble roasted chestnuts! From Hamburg you can visit the magnificent Hanseatic city of Lubeck – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or Lüneburg’s – the ‘City of White Gold’ with its many richly decorated historical buildings and small, cobbled alleyways.
Amsterdam (Netherlands) is the charming city made-up of picture-perfect canals and bridges with stunning 16th century architecture. Popular attractions include Anne Frank’s house and the Van Gogh Museum. Food lovers should definitely visit the famous town of Gouda – renowned worldwide for its delicious creamy cheese but also for ‘stroopwafels’ (syrup waffles). Those looking to get out of the city can visit the windmill village of Zaanse Schans. Here most of the houses are made of wood and sport the pretty green painted façades typical of the Zaan area. The village is home to traditional Dutch craft production, including a wooden shoe factory where you can see how the Dutch clogs are made.
Zeebrugge (Belgium) is close to the picturesque UNESCO World Heritage city of Bruges, one of Europe’s best-preserved Medieval cities with quaint cobbled streets and tranquil canals. Foodies can indulge in traditionalBelgian treats such as waffles and chocolate, world-famous beers and ‘French’ fries – actually a truly Belgian creation – or shop for the beautiful local lace and tapestries. Another great way to spent the day is by exploring Belgium’s capital city Brussels. Here skyscrapers and hotels have modernized the skyline of this French and Flemish speaking city. Step back in time and wander around the ‘Grand Place’, one of the world’s most beautiful squares. The extraordinary ensemble of baroque façades was built on the very spot where Brussels’ first inhabitants held their market in the 12th century, the heart of the community in the Middle Ages.
From Le Havre (France) you can visit Rouen, the historical capital of Normandy, or Honfleur, a tiny town known for its picturesque harbour and beautifully preserved old buildings with slate-covered frontages. A favourite motif of many painters, Honfleur is known to have particularly inspired Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, Eugène Boudin and Johan Jongkind. Or you can travel on to Paris and soak up the charms of France’s romantic capital city and see the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel Tower, the Place de la Concorde and many other world-famous landmarks.
The port of Southampton (UK) provides convenient access to a number of top tourist attractions in Southern England including the nearby historic cities of Winchester or Salisbury with their world-famous cathedrals. Or you can visit the famous Windsor Castle dating back to the 11th Century or see the stone circle of Stonehenge, one of the most intriguing and ancient sites in the U.K. Situated on a vast plain, the site is truly impressive; shrouded in magic and mystery, many believe this sacred site emanates a special atmosphere. For those wishing to visit another capital city Oxford Street, Hyde Park, Covent Garden market and many museums and art galleries are waiting for you in London. Or you can simply enjoy a pint of ale and relax in a typical English pub.
What can you expect on board MSC Magnifica?
MSC Magnifica enables guests to travel in true comfort and style featuring an elegant design and relaxed refinement, with all the features that distinguish MSC Cruises ships, including high quality service, a varied choice of dining options including four restaurants and 11 bars, modern and comfortable cabins. The ship also offers a wide range of entertainment and leisure activities including a swimming pool with a retractable roof, a sports centre, bowling, a high-tech gym and the MSC Aurea Spa. There is never a dull moment as the wide variety of entertainment offerings include a stylish casino, panoramic discotheque, 4D cinema and a 1,200-seater theatre with original theatre productions as well as live entertainment throughout the ship. And of course, the ship offers award-winning family facilities and activities with dedicated kids’ areas and clubs for all ages.
Exploring Northern europe in a healthy and safe way
All guests 12 years and above need to be fully vaccinated and guests aged from 2 years to 11 years old will need to provide proof of a negative RT-PCR test or antigen taken within 48 hours of their cruise departure. Non-Schengen guests will need to be fully vaccinated as well as provide a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of their cruise departure.
MSC Magnifica will follow MSC Cruises’ health and safety protocol with measures that include elevated sanitation on board, wearing of masks in indoor public areas, a fully-equipped medical centre, a contingency response plan agreed in collaboration with the authorities ashore as well as other key measures to protect the health and safety of the guests, crew and communities that the ship will visit.