"New York City was the natural choice when we picked our next U.S. port because it's so accessible..." Rubén Rodríguez, the president of MSC Cruises USA said.
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The MSC Meraviglia sailing into NYC
Credit: Courtesy of MSC Cruises

MSC is moving to the Big Apple.

The cruise line will call New York City's Brooklyn Cruise Terminal home starting in April 2023, offering year-round cruises on its MSC Meraviglia to the Caribbean, Bermuda, New England, and Canada, the company shared with Travel + Leisure. The new homeport joins MSC's other U.S. bases, including in Miami and Orlando.

"New York City was the natural choice when we picked our next U.S. port because it's so accessible, whether the guest is coming from somewhere nearby or from around the world," Rubén Rodríguez, the president of MSC Cruises USA, said in a statement shared with T+L. "We designed our mix of itineraries to take advantage of New York's geographic flexibility, so that you can soak up the springtime sun in the Caribbean, head to Bermuda over the summer, or go north to see Canada's natural beauty in the fall."

The MSC Meraviglia can hold up to 5,700 guests and offers 20 bars, 12 restaurants, and even a water park and ropes course to entertain passengers of all ages. The ship will sail six to 11-night cruises, including to MSC's private island in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.

It will be the first time an MSC ship will homeport in the northeastern U.S. year-round, according to the company.

The news comes as the cruise industry has been forced to adapt to a constantly changing business as the coronavirus pandemic enters its third year. In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made its guidance optional for cruise lines, allowing its Conditional Sail Order to expire, and has since lowered its warning on embarking on a voyage.

Currently, MSC requires all guests 12 and older to be vaccinated, according to the company, and will lower that to 5 and older on April 23.

"The cruise industry — MSC included — has always placed health and safety at the top of the priorities list and has always worked closely with authorities and the CDC, whether it's coronavirus or other illnesses," Rodríguez told T+L onboard the inaugural sailing of the company's MSC Seashore in November. "But, clearly, we have learned so much during the pandemic and we know it's not going away. It may become endemic, so a lot of protocols related to vaccinations or testing, to hygiene to sanitation to air filtration, those are with us to stay."

Despite the uncertainty of the last few years, Rodríguez feels the future of the cruise industry — and MSC's future in the U.S. — is strong.

"Clearly we first saw, and continue to see, demand from people who know cruising, that love cruising, and now have opportunities to cruise again," he said. "In our case, we're very large globally, but much smaller in the U.S…. but we have the opportunity to offer something different, something unique to guests that love to cruise but have not cruised with MSC, have not experienced the European nature of our ships, the modern nature of our ships, international character of our guest mix, and our commitment to sustainability."

Additional reporting by Christine Burroni

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.