MSC Cruises replaces autumn and winter Egyptian and Ukrainian calls with alternative destinations

MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and fourth largest global player in the industry, have just announced that it has suspended remaining 2015 calls in Ukraine and Egypt, replacing them with a number of choice Mediterranean alternatives.

Sunset, Kaliakra, Bulgaria © Plamen Stoev

MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera, MSC Fantasia and MSC Musica will, from autumn 2015 to winter 2016, incorporate Bulgaria, the Greek islands of Rhodes and Crete, as well as Cyprus and Israel into their sailings. The move has been taken in response to market demand and the on-going political unrest in Ukraine and Egypt.

The affected cruises are:

MSC Opera: 12-night Eastern Mediterranean sailings – Rhodes, Greece and Heraklion, Crete replace Alexandria, Egypt. Three departures affected [September 28, October 10 and October 22 2015].

MSC Sinfonia: 12-night Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea sailings from Genoa – Burgas, Bulgaria replaces Odessa, Ukraine. Two departure dates affected [September 17 and October 11 2015].

MSC Fantasia – 11-night Eastern Mediterranean sailings – Rhodes, Greece and Heraklion, Crete replace Alexandria, Egypt. Six departure dates affected [December 17 2015, January 8, January 30, February 21, March 14 and March 25 2016].

In addition, Egypt port calls have been removed from the repositioning ‘Grand Voyages’ of MSC Sinfonia and MSC Musica when the ships leave Europe in October and November and head for their winter home ports in Durban, South Africa and Dubai, UAE respectively. MSC Sinfonia will instead visit Heraklion, Crete and Eilat, Israel, and MSC Musica will call at Heraklion.

For more information see or call 020 3426 3010

© MSC Cruises

We wish you a Merry Cruise-mas…

MSC Cruises is giving families the opportunity to make the most of the festive season this year with great value sailings available throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

Sun setting, Baltic Sea © JVP pHoTOs

Escaping the British weather – and all the stress of a Christmas at home – has never been easier. With MSC Cruises, guests can simply relax, celebrate and share their magic moments safe in the knowledge that all the food, entertainment and tidying up is taken care of.

There’s an MSC Cruises itinerary to suit all budgets – and all ships will be decked out in the best traditional trimmings, with sparkling lights, shimmering decorations and Christmas trees. For the little ones, Father Christmas will make a very special stop during an event in the onboard theatre, where he’ll present a gift to every child on board.

MSC Cruises Christmas and New Year fly-cruise itineraries include:

Western Mediterranean: Seven-night western Med sailing aboard MSC Splendida, departing Genoa, Italy. The ship calls at Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; Palermo, Sicily; Tunis, Tunisia; Barcelona, Spain; Marseille, France and Genoa, Italy. Prices start at £679 per person (based on Dec 21 departure), including transfers and return flights with British Airways from London. New Year cruise (departing December 28) starts at £849 per person.

Eastern Mediterranean: For a longer break, consider this 11-night sailing aboard the luxurious MSC Fantasia. The Eastern Med itinerary, departing Genoa, is great for guests you love a packed itinerary since it features multiple ports of call. The ship visits Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; Heraklion, Greece; Rhodes, Greece; Izmir (Ephesus), Turkey; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Valletta, Malta; Messina, Sicily; Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy; and Genoa. Prices start at £969 per person (based on December 16 departure) including return flights with British Airways from London and transfers.

Dubai, the Emirates and Oman: MSC Orchestra offers a seven-night Arabian Sea sailing this winter departing Dubai, UAE. The itinerary features calls at Abu Dhabi, Khor Al Fakkan, Muscat and Khasab and starts at £1,149 per person including return flights with Emirates from London, Manchester or Glasgow and transfers (based on December 20 departure). New Year cruise (departing December 27) starts at £1,299 per person.

Canary Islands & Madeira: Fresh from a £40 million lengthening and refit project, MSC Armonia sails the Canary Islands from November. For Christmas it offers a trip combining the best of the Canaries with the Portuguese isle of Madeira. The sailing (departing December 20) leaves Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, and calls at Puerto del Rosario, Fuerteventura; Funchal, Madeira; Santa Cruz, La Palma; Santa Cruz, Tenerife and Las Palmas. Prices start at £1,039 per person, including return flights from Manchester and transfers.

Caribbean: Guests in search of the ultimate break from the norm can indulge themselves on a two-week trip around the Caribbean on MSC Cruises’ spectacular megaship MSC Divina. Operating out of Miami, the luxurious vessel sails alternating seven-night itineraries that can be combined to make a seriously relaxing break from the British winter. Onboard attractions include a West End-sized theatre, award-winning Aurea Spa, splash park with sweeping water slide, F1 simulator and bowling alley. The 14-night Caribbean itinerary, departing December 13 2014, calls at Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Miami; Philipsburg, St Maarten; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas; Miami, and starts at £1,289per person including return flights to Miami with British Airways from London.

And remember, kids cruise free with MSC Cruises (paying only flights and port taxes).

For more information see or call 020 3426 3010.

© MSC Cruises

Heartbroken? Go on holiday!

If you get through life without ever experiencing a relationship breakup, you can probably consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Whether you’re the “dumper” or the “dumpee”, breaking up with someone isn’t nice. wanted to find out if people ever decide to book a holiday shortly after a breakup, either to get some space or go on the hunt for a new love interest. So, they decided to poll 1,699 people from around the UK, aged 18 and over, all of whom had broken up with a partner within the last 12 months.

1 in 5 Britons book a holiday within three months of breakup

When we asked the respondents, ‘Did you book a holiday within three months of your relationship breakup?’ one fifth of those taking part, 21%, said ‘yes’. We then asked them to explain why they had decided to book a holiday following their breakup, to which we were given the following top 5 answers:

To take my mind off the breakup – 31%

To find another potential love interest on holiday – 26%

It just so happened that I was due a holiday/wanted to go away – 17%

Friends convinced me to go away – 13%

Other – 13%

Ibiza is the ‘heartbreak holiday’ destination of choice

Anyone who had booked a holiday within three months of a breakup, either to take their mind off things or to find another potential partner, was asked which destination they had booked, revealing the following top five ‘heartbreak holiday’ destinations:

1. Ibiza – 17% To find out more about Ibiza, and get accurate weather forecasts, click here.

2. Rhodes – 15% To find out more about Rhodes, and get accurate weather forecasts, click here.

3. Majorca – 11% To find out more about Majorca, and get accurate weather forecasts, click here.

4. Cyprus – 9% To find out more about Cyprus, and get accurate weather forecasts, click here.

5. Spain – 6% To find out more about Spain, and get accurate weather forecasts, click here.

Breakups aren’t easy for anyone and a holiday can be an ideal way to take your mind off any emotional turbulence. It was interesting to see all of the typical party destinations in the top five list of heartbreak holiday locations, with resorts such as San AntonioFaliraki, MagalufAyia Napa and Marbella probably frequented by heartbroken or newly single holidaymakers.

Getting a bunch of friends together for a few days in the sun or even going away with family can be a good way to get some distance from everything and return home to the UK with a clearer head… and maybe a new love!


Thomson and First Choice introduce 29 new routes for summer 2015 from regional UK airports

Thomson and First Choice are pleased to announce that in summer 2015 they will be increasing capacity at UK regional airports through the introduction of 29 new routes including Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia, Marrakesh in Morocco and Antalya in Turkey, as well as the addition of further weekly flights for existing routes across the regions.

The move to introduce these routes is part of the UK’s largest tour operator’s strategy to ensure customers across the UK can fly from their local airport and stay at the best hotels in some of the most exciting destinations.

Summer 2015 new route highlights include:

  • Five new routes from Birmingham Airport to Agadir, Morocco; Chania, Greece; Djerba, Tunisia, Sal, Cape Verde and Porto Santo
  • Four new routes from Bristol Airport to Santorini, Greece; Pula, Croatia; Marrakech, Morocco and Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Re-introduction of the route to Antalya, Turkey from Cardiff Airport
  • New route from Humberside Airport to Palma, Majorca
  • Four new routes from Manchester Airport to Alghero, Italy; Djerba, Tunisia; Split, Croatia and current winter route to La Palma in the Canaries
  • New route to Mahon, Menorca from Norwich Airport, as well as the addition of a further weekly flight for existing route Dalaman, Turkey
  • Scottish customers will benefit from five new routes, including Dubrovnik, Croatia and Marrakesh, Morocco from Glasgow; Antalya, Turkey and Rhodes, Greece from Edinburgh, and Faro, Portugal from Aberdeen

Not only will customers from the 20 regional airports served by Thomson and First Choice be able to fly to some fantastic destinations, but they will also have the opportunity to choose varying durations – not just the standard seven and 14 night stays. Customers will now also have access to some of Thomson and First Choice’s most popular flagship hotels. These include the brand new for summer 2015 Thomson Sensatori Resorts in Ibiza and Turkey’s Dalaman region.

From next summer Thomson customers will also have the opportunity to experience the beautiful and less explored Croatian coastal region of the Dalmatian Coast, which will see Thomson launch its third Couples property in Croatia – the Adriatic Beach Hotel, served by a brand new flight to Split from Manchester.

Croatia’s popular Dubrovnik region will also be available from Glasgow, Bristol and Newcastle and will receive a second flight from Manchester, Gatwick and Birmingham, offering holidaymakers the chance to enjoy a Thomson Cruises’ cruise and stay holiday in Dubrovnik, with Thomson Celebration sailing out of the port for the summer season.

Karen Switzer, Director of Aviation Planning for Thomson and First Choice, said of the move: “The demand for more regional routes is strong, and adding additional capacity from the 20 UK airports we serve as well as introducing 29 new routes demonstrates our commitment to getting holidaymakers to their sun spot more easily.

“Expanding access to our portfolio of destinations and hotels is a key part of our overall strategy and we hope that this move will enhance the holiday experience for our customers.”

© First Choice

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