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This week in Sydney, MSC Cruises invited 60 dedicated long-term cruisers to join its team for wine, canapés and a look at its new 2016-17 brochure.

Most attendees hadn’t even cruised with the Swiss-based company, but Lynne Clarke, MSC’s Managing Director, was determined to win them over.

So, what’s new for cruisers? A whole lot of itineraries, including a new route involving Havana, Cuba.

MSC is the first major cruise line to feature Cuba in its itineraries, and will do so with the newly renovated MSC Opera – the ship that will homeport there from the end of 2015. A seven-night round-trip cruise from the area, visiting Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Mexico, is priced at $859.

Then there’s the MSC Voyagers Club, to be launched on July 20. Members will accumulate points with every MSC sailing, and will receive benefits such as a five per cent discount on cruises, $50 onboard credit and exclusive offers.

 

The most impressive selling point is the cruise line’s onboard experience. The word ‘luxury’ was thrown about quite a bit – and the images projected onto a temporary screen proved it. The rooms evoke a modern, minimalist feel that travels through to the public spaces, such as the neutral-toned Aurea Spa.