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Come Sail Away, Part 2

Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and its variants, major lines such as MSC Cruises and Celebrity are sailing full-speed ahead, drumming up excitement with perks like bigger ships, new ports and even private islands.

MSC was successful in launching two new ships in 2021—MSC Seashore and MSC Virtuosa—giving cruise-goers 19 vessels to now choose from. And that number is expected to increase to 23 by 2025.

“Alongside our aggressive growth, we have a strong commitment to the environment,” says Rubén Rodríguez, USA president of MSC Cruises. “We are working toward a more sustainable future with a commitment to reach net carbon neutral operations by 2050.”

When it comes to U.S. cruising, MSC’s new homeport of Port Canaveral gives passengers easier access to popular destinations in the Bahamas and Caribbean. In addition, the line’s recently debuted private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, provides a bonus stop for its Caribbean itineraries—featuring 2 miles of white sandy beaches, numerous restaurants and bars, and other adventure-packed land and sea excursions exclusively for MSC passengers.

“We are also very excited that our newest ship, MSC Seashore, launched in August in the Mediterranean, will make her debut in Miami this November, offering our guests the most outdoor space of any MSC Cruises ship,” Rodríguez says.

MSC Seashore also will be equipped with next-generation health and safety technology; it’s the line’s first ship with “Safe Air” technology, which sanitizes all air with UV-C light technology, eliminating 99 percent of all viruses and bacteria.

Not to be outdone, Celebrity is bringing the newest luxury ship from its groundbreaking Edge series to South Florida in fall 2022. Celebrity Beyond (which launches next April) will sail her maiden Caribbean season from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Beyond features world-class amenities such as the Retreat, Celebrity’s resort-within-a-resort; as well as 30 restaurants, bars and lounges—among them, the new Le Voyage by Celebrity’s culinary ambassador and Michelin-starred chef, Daniel Boulud.

In all, nine award-winning Celebrity ships will sail during the 2022-23 Caribbean winter season—including the three Edge Series ships (Beyond, Apex and Edge). They will be joined by four ships (Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Silhouette and Celebrity Summit) recently “revolutionized” as part of a multimillion-dollar fleet renovation program. The nine ships (including Celebrity Constellation and Celebrity Reflection) will sail to island destinations from Fort Lauderdale and Miami (as well as from Tampa or San Juan, Puerto Rico) connected to an array of four- to 11-night itineraries—including once-in-a-lifetime Panama Canal voyage.

Celebrity has added to its already five-star experience with an “always included” program that folds Wi-Fi, drinks and tips into a cruise purchase—as well as a “cruise with confidence” program that offers flexible cancellations and best-price guarantees.

All Aboard

Carnival, meanwhile, recently launched its newest ship, Mardi Gras, from PortMiami—becoming the first cruise ship in the Americas to be powered by nontoxic, eco-friendly liquefied natural gas. It’s also the first ship to feature a roller coaster, plus restaurant concepts by celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, Food Network personality Guy Fieri and retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal.

“Mardi Gras’ sister ship, Carnival Celebration, is set to debut from PortMiami in late 2022, coinciding with our 50th birthday festivities and operating weeklong cruises to the Caribbean and Bahamas,” says Vance Gulliksen, Carnival Cruises’ senior news desk manager.

Though the 18 months and change have been challenging, many in the industry agree that the lessons learned will lead cruise lines to create even better experiences for passengers.

“We’ve learned a great deal about the loyalty and dedication of our guests, employees and partners,” Gulliksen notes. “They have been with us through thick and thin—we don’t know where we would be without them.”

Adds MSC’s Rodríguez: “Even prior to the pandemic, we have always focused on protecting the health and safety of our guests and crew. We adapted quickly because we already have this experience in what we do every day—it’s in our DNA.

“No other vacation right now offers the level of health and safety that a cruise offers, and these measures are in place to give guests the peace of mind they need to enjoy their vacation [and] to relax.”

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.