Following on from the success of its Northern European season this summer and due to ongoing demand from guests to cruise in this region, MSC Cruises on Tuesday (Oct. 4) announced the introduction of a Northern Europe itinerary for this winter – the first time that the Company has offered a winter programme in the region.
Starting from 14 November 2021, MSC Magnifica will offer 7-night cruises visiting five of Europe’s most popular cities – the Northern Pearls. The ship will call Hamburg, Germany; Southampton for London, UK Le Havre for Paris, France; Zeebrugge for Bruges and Brussels; IJmuiden/Amsterdam, Netherlands; Zeebrugge for Bruges and Brussels, Belgium; Le Havre for Paris, France; Southampton for London, UK. With extended stays in the port of up to 12 hours, guests can really make the most of their time ashore. Embarkation will be possible in each port, ensuring that there are plenty of convenient connections close for guests.
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 creating 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 and in November and December, you can enjoy one of the city’s 30 Christmas markets whilst sipping on mulled wine or nibbling roasted chestnuts! From Hamburg you can visit magnificent the 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.
The UK port of Southampton 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 Windsor Castle dating back to the 1tth Century or to 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, spend the day in London, where you can visit Oxford Street, explore Hyde Park, check out Covent Garden market, immerse yourself in culture in one of the many museums or art galleries or simply enjoy a pint of ale and relax in a typical English pub.
From Le Havre, France guests 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 visit Paris and soak up the charms of France’s romantic capital city and see the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde and many other world-famous landmarks.
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. Indulge in traditionally Belgian treats such as waffles and chocolate, the world-famous beers and French fries – actually a truly Belgian creation – or shop for the beautiful local lace and tapestries. Or spend the day exploring Belgium’s capital city, Brussels where 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 Europe’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.
Amsterdam is a charming city made up of picture-perfect canals and bridges with stunning 16th-century architecture. Popular attractions include Anne Frank’s house, the Van Gogh Museum For food lovers, visit the famous town of Gouda – renowned worldwide for its delicious creamy cheese but also for stroopwafels – syrup waffles. Or for those looking to get out of the city, visit the windmill village of Zaanse Schans, where 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.