Thursday, 24 April 2014

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother” – Abraham Lincoln

Sometimes I struggle to get out of my front door in time for anything, and always seem to forget something, usually resulting in a less than acceptable appearance with unkempt hair to boot. So when I woke up late this morning, resulting in a battle of me vs. the clock, I started to think of where it all went wrong. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always like this. Sometimes things go smoothly, and other times not so much…

Life would be a series of disorganised
messes without mothers...
After a few moments spent pondering, it dawned on me: when I was a child this never seemed to happen. As a child, my shoe laces were always tied, my bag always packed the night beforehand, my hair always brushed and neat, my lunch always ready and my breakfast always eaten. And then I realised, it’s all because someone else did it all for me. You can only guess who. Only one type of person on this planet would do all that for me, every single day: my mum.
I realised that while I was in my own little world of cartoons and make believe, I had someone making sure I was ready, set, go. All the while probably leaving the house like I did this morning. Only mother’s would make sure their children are ready and ok before they even look at themselves, usually not having the time to do so.

Thinking about all the little and big things that mother’s do made me really miss my mum. And all those times that I’ve been meaning to call her but was just ‘too busy’ came back to remind me what a horrible child I’ve been. So I called my main lady, just to say hello, and she was instantly worried that something was wrong. I guess it’s in a mother’s nature, to worry. I felt kind of bad that a phone call equated with the possibility of something being wrong. I really should call my mother more.
When I’m sick, be it with the common cold or hospitalised with an awful stomach bug, nothing ever makes me feel better than my mumma. No amount of medicine, no tv shows, no foods, no doctors, nothing adds up to having my mother by my side, cuddles and all.  

I remember as a kid getting ridiculously excited, as children do, over the smallest things and never once did my mother not jump in ridiculous joy with me, over-exaggerating her excitement about my new miss piggy toy.
They laugh, even when it's not really funny...
I remember having lunch once with my mum and being disappointed with a horrible meal. So my mum simply swapped my plate for hers, despite my protests, and continued to eat my unsatisfactory dish while I enjoyed hers. As Tenneva Jordan once wrote “a mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie”.
I remember having arguments with my mother, giving her way too much attitude and no matter how angry she would be with me, at the end of the day, we were always ok. Mother’s aren’t perfect but they sure are magnificent. As Maya Angelou said “to describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power”.

My mother is both my biggest fan and my biggest critic. She’s not the cool aunt who had let me stay up until all hours because it was her job to teach me all the hard lessons as well as let me have my fun.
My mother is always there for me, just a phone call away, always ready to listen and put me in my place if I’m wrong and rejoice in my accomplishments.
I’m guilty of taking my mother for granted and not calling her enough. Just because I know how much she loves me, I forget to let her know how much I love her and how thankful I am for always putting my needs before hers and for all the little things.
Make new Mediterranean moments with your mother...
A mother’s love, the purest love you will ever know, can be measured in the moments. At MSC Cruises, we understand the importance of family – trust us, as the largest owned private, family-owned cruise line in the world, we know family. We know mother’s. We understand.
Create new moments with your mother, with the family, create Mediterranean moments with MSC Cruises. Let us help you say thank you to all the superwomen out there. Let us make the experience all that more special. For all the little things you might forget to do, like call your mum, we’ll remind you and we’ll help you create magical new moments with your mothers. Nothing says thank you like an MSC Cruise; like the opportunity to explore new horizons with the one person who would let you have the last crepe in France just because your happiness means more to them than their own…
Say thank you for all the little things in a big way this Mother’s day, book a cruise with MSC Cruises.


What better present than an MSC Cruise to say thank you for all the
little things, in a big way
 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Easter: from pot throwing to crime novels

So I’ve been guilty of thinking more about chocolate than anything else this Easter. I know that Easter falls on a different date each year but I didn’t know why or how the date is even decided. So I chose to push my chocolate day-dreams aside (just for a little while) and find out why.
 
The First Council of Nicaea (in 325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. So there we go, that’s how the date of Easter is decided!
 
As much as chocolate is trying, and partially succeeding, to find its way back into my front-line of thought, my curiosity about Easter is still winning.  Not only does Easter fall on a different date each year, but its celebrations differ from country to country, culture to culture, coast to coast. The beauty of cruising during Easter is the chance you’ll get to experience numerous different, but equally as brilliant, traditions as you wake up in a glorious new city each day, faced with an exhilarating new Easter tradition.

Imagine being in Rome on Good Friday when the Pope commemorates the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) at the Colosseum. You’ll be mesmerised as a huge cross with burning torches illuminates the sky while your ears are graced with the sound of the Stations of the Cross described in many languages. Or imagine the atmosphere in Vatican City’s St Peter’s Square as thousands of visitors from all over the world await the Pope’s blessing from the Church’s balcony.
 
The beauty of Rome illuminated during Easter will
leave you breathless

One day Italia, next day EspaƱa. Wake up in the south of Spain where Semana Santa (Holy Week), which actually lasts for 10 days (yep only in Spain), means Easter processions and celebrations throughout town squares. Join a city full of people following the processions of pasos, wooden sculptures that depict individual scenes of the final period during Jesus’ life. If you happen to be in Malaga during Semana Santa, you might be lucky enough to run into Antonio Banderas who makes a huge effort every year to spend Semana Santa in his hometown where he leads the Virgin de las Lagrimas y Favores (Virgen de Tears and Favours) procession.

Next let’s head to Corfu where at 11am on Easter Saturday ‘botides’ (clay pots) are thrown from windows and balconies when the first ‘botos’ (bell ring) is heard marking the first Resurrection. After the infamous throwing of the pots, bands parade around the street. Easter in Greece is the biggest and most celebrated holiday of them all so it’s not surprise that loud is the volume of celebration during this exciting holiday.
 

Whether you're throwing pots with locals or relaxing,
visit Corfu when you cruise the Med with MSC Cruises

Easter in Norway means you’ll be greeted with the sinister sounds of crime novels. Yep, you definitely read correctly. I haven’t made a mistake. Chocolate is not effecting me that much just yet. Easter traditions take quite a different turn in Norway where Easter is actually a popular time for Norwegians to read crime novels, so much so that publishers actually release special ‘Easter thrillers’ known as Paskekrim or ‘Easter crime’. During Easters Holy Week, aside from the release of new crime novels, major television channels and magazines run crime and detective stories, and even milk cartons are altered as a new short mystery is printed on their sides. Although this may sound a tad peculiar, never fear (pun definitely intended), reading crime novels is just one tradition among the many Norwegians partake in during Easter such as staying at mountain cabins, cross-country skiing and painting eggs.
 
Although it may not look like it, Norway is filled with
people reading crime novels during Holy Week

It is nothing out of the ordinary to see Easter egg trees in Germany as decorated Easter eggs hang on branches and trees. If we’re still talking eggs, in Haux, France, on Easter Monday a giant omelette is served up in the town’s main square. If you want specifics, that’s 4,500 eggs that are used to make the omelette and feeds up to 1,000 people!

Easter on-board an MSC Cruise is one of the most exciting holidays and should really be experienced at least once in every life-time. Each day you’ll get to change the atmosphere, change the scenery, change the traditions, change the language, change the culture…..

Don’t even hesitate. Book an MSC Cruise for the 2015 Easter holidays so that while everyone back home is trying to escape the rains of Autumn, you’ll be welcoming the re-birth of Springtime and relishing in our very own on-board celebrations as we celebrate Easter in true Mediterranean style.
 
Now, it’s time for chocolate ;)



 


Friday, 11 April 2014

A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles

I was always a firm believer in travelling alone, you know, having complete control over what you do and where you go - the freedom of it all was enticing. So travel alone I did… Much to my surprise however, I didn’t actually love it as much as I had told myself I would. 

When being faced with the beauty and brilliance of a new city and culture, I found myself constantly searching for someone to share the amazing new experience with, for someone to gaze in awe with over the beauty that is Rome, and drool over delectable French pastries with. I found myself constantly annoying family and friends with picture messages of my adventures, telling them how amazing it was to be able to wake up each morning with a different, but just as superb view as the day before, and how much I wished they were there with me. 
Cruising with friends: someone to share the laughs with
Recounting stories when I returned home would just not suffice. Besides, there are some things you can’t explain like standing still for a moment in Venice and soaking in the peacefulness that comes with a city where you can’t hear the sound of a single car, and the feeling of utter relaxation after being pampered at MSC Aurea Spa.
And so there it was, my lonesome travels were just that: lonely. I was craving companionship. I was desperately wishing that I had a friend jumping in excitement with me and appreciating the magnificence of new cities. The only thing better than cruising across the world’s most captivating coastlines is having the absolute pleasure of sharing it with friends. As Tim Cahill said, a journey is best measured in friends, not in miles. 
Cruising with friends: sharing new experiences 
To cruise with friends is to discover the undiscovered...
To cruise with friends is to lose track of all concepts of date and time...
To the cruise with friends is to laugh...
To cruise with friends is to be carefree...
To cruise with friends is to be overjoyed and overwhelmed with excitement...
To cruise with friends is to try new things, together...
To cruise with friends is to share...
To cruise with friends is to soak in the sunshine...
To cruise with friends is to relax by the pool...
To cruise with friends is finding the hilarity in situations only a friend would understand... 
To cruise with friends is to understand...
To cruise with friends is to adventure...
To cruise with friends is to do absolutely nothing and still have the best time, ever...
To cruise with friends is to revisit your journey over nostalgic coffee dates after it sadly comes to an end...
To cruise with friends is, simply the best.
Cruising with friends: someone to try new cuisines with
Cruising with friends: someone to just have FUN with

And there’s always good news. MSC Cruises understands the value of cruising with friends and so our deals for Groups keep getting better and better. Now, if you get together a group of less than 100 passengers for summer 2015 cruises, you’ll only pay the 2014 Prima Price! Just remember a group needs to be 16 people or more, because at MSC we really believe, the more the merrier!
Crusing with friends: someone to take pictures with
 I think it’s time to gather your amigos and plan one unforgettable cruise, together.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

MSC Yacht Club: A whole new world, a whole new point of view

 Today we invite you to step into the world of the exclusive MSC Yacht Club. It’s time to sit back, relax, and let us take you on a journey you will never be able to forget.


MSC Divina's Head Butler welcomes you to the world that is
MSC Yacht Club

The distinction between our guests usually remains blurred, after all everyone on-board is having a spectacular holiday. So it’s hard to distinguish you from the rest of our guests. One thing however is instantly apparent: you know real luxury, you’ve experienced a whole new level of relaxation that you didn’t even know existed, you have cruised in MSC Yacht Club.



Wake up to a different view each
morning
MSC Yacht Club – it’s a whole new world, a completely different (but oh so wonderful) experience. Priority check-in is where it begins but definitely not where it ends. Imagine yourself, a MSC Yacht Club member on-board one of our fabulous cruises. You are greeted with a panoramic view of breath-taking coastlines and hypnotising crystal-clear waters, all from the comfort of your luxurious suite. With a 24 hour butler service, you will experience what MSC Cruises attentive service really feels like.



Relax in the privacy of on-board
venues reserved just for
MSC Yacht Club Guests
Arms open, you look up at the never-ending blue sky as you soak in the sun’s warmth while you relish in the privacy of exclusive on-board venues that only MSC Yacht Club guests have access to. 

Tantalise your taste-buds with unbelievable gastronomy whether it’s through A la carte dining in panoramic private restaurants such as  Le Muse on MSC Divina, L’Etoile on MSC Fantasia, and L’Olivo on MSC Splendida, or through a room service menu from the comfort of your own suite.

Although this may make you feel like you’re in a whole other universe, you’ll get your choice of an international broadsheet newspaper delivered daily so you still know what’s going on out there.

 
                               

Even dreaming will be remarkable as you lay down in your ridiculously comfortable king-sized bed, looking out into the star-studded midnight sky as Egyptian cotton sheets make you feel like the heavens are personally wishing you a good night’s sleep. 



MSC Divina's Top Sail Lounge
Private shopping and shore excursions, exclusive MSC Aurea Spa treatment facilities, complimentary drinks, the elegant panoramic Top Sail Lounge with remarkable views and much, much more… Forgetting every single worry and never wanting to forget this experience, MSC Yacht Club will make you wonder how it’s possible to cruise any other way.


 
Relax and cruise your worries away
in MSC Yacht Club
Now, it’s time to bring you back into reality. But this dream doesn’t need to be just a fantasy. Just when you were wondering how it could possibly get any better… On selected Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises, we are offering you a FREE cabin upgrade. If you pay for a Suite (Cat3), we’ll upgrade you to an extravagant Yacht Club (Cat1) Deluxe Suite.
 

And remember, once you go MSC Yacht Club, you'll never go back.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Our family is expanding! MSC cruise ships are getting sisters!

The Treaty of Versailles wasn’t the only important document to be signed in France. While you may have been going about your day normally on the 20th of March, something extraordinary was happening at the Hotel de L’Industrie in Paris: MSC Cruises signed a letter of intent with STX France for the construction of two new cruise ships. That’s right folks, you heard it, MSC Cruises and STX France are gifting the world with two new, and might we add absolutely magnificent, cruise ships! Please don’t try and contain your excitement. Let it all out. Scream with joy! We have it on good authority that you have valid reason to be extremely happy.


Gianluigi Aponte, President of MSC group and Laurent
Castain, General Manager of STX France

Although it won’t alter international borders like Versailles did, it will certainly allow you to cross them in unmatched comfort, class, and style. These new ships will be 315 meters long and 43 meters wide, which means we are able to call in many ports across the world without compromise and give our guests even more destinations to fall in love with. It might just change your world.

Don’t believe us yet? Let us picture ourselves on one of these amazing new cruise ships. Why don’t you head over to the two-deck ‘Inside Promenade’ and watch a themed performance? But what if you’re feeling a little more adventurous? Or the kids just want to have some good ol’ fun? Let’s go to the “Super Amusement Park” or if you want to make more of a splash, the “Aquapark”. We’ve heard these amusement parks are going to be pretty spectacular (the most remarkable ever installed on-board a cruise ship if we’re being precise).

Your most difficult decision on an MSC cruise will be
which of the many delicious cuisines to indulge in. 

Now the kids have had enough and so have you. It’s time to relax but you don’t particularly feel like relaxing in the main lounge today. This could be a problem, but it’s not because this wonderful ship has a panoramic “Aft lounge” where you can relax and watch a show. Did you hear that? Relaxing with a view and show? I might just live on this ship. You’ve worked up quite an appetite by this point and your biggest problem is choosing which of the 12 places on-board to go to for dinner. You can’t really go wrong anyway, not with all the new cuisines available.  

Apart from fantastic new entertainment options, these ships will be renewed with exciting new additions to the luxuriously exclusive MSC Yacht Club area including a large solarium, a private lounge, and restaurant, all completed by duplex suites at the ships forefront. Now that sounds like a whole new world.   

It only gets better. Not only is this new prototype going to be the most versatile and flexible cruise ship in the world, it is going to be cleaner, more efficient and more technological. We know, how is that even possible? I mean how could you possibly get everything you want in a cruise ship and still have it be energy efficient? The cruise ships will be water emission free with an optimised hull and propulsion system for better energy efficiency.
Just as the Treaty of Versailles gave birth to nation-states, MSC Cruises and STX France are giving birth to a new generation of ships (or more like super ships) and trust us, you will not be disappointed. I know it sounds too good to be true but, sorry Rolling Stones, it seems you can always get what you want.

We cant wait for the arrival of our new super cruise ships!


Due for delivery in 2017 and 2019, we are super excited for the arrival of our new cruise ships, but don't wait until then to experience the magic of MSC Cruises. Why not book on MSC Preziosa for a summer Mediterranean Cruise? You'll be enchanted as you walk the ancient city walls of Dubrovnik and dive into the crystal blue waters of magnificent Mediterranean beaches in Bari. Aside from leaving you sunkissed in a way only the European summertime can, if you book a 2014 summer Mediterranean cruise you could enjoy up to $200 on-board credit.* Now that's the Med Way of Life!
 
*Conditions Apply

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A Mediterranean Spring Affair To Remember

In the Australian Summer months, when we’ve reached peak temperatures, mosquitos are gnawing at our legs and our clothes cling to our bodies we find ourselves day dreaming about cooler days ahead. Days where you can spend an afternoon out in the sun without melting, when your iced water won't turn tepid and shoulders aren't redden by the second.

Autumn arrives and it’s like our prayers have been answered… but then all too soon, knitted jumpers, boots and umbrellas become mandatory accessories. You think to yourself – wouldn’t it be perfect if it was Spring? The most romantic season of all, appointed with ideals of rebirth and cleansing, dreams, exploration and discovery.

Spring is a perfect time for unearthing ancient towns, uncovering hidden secrets and delighting in generation to generation passed-down desserts and savoury delights. In the Spring months, these pleasures won't be smothered by an overbearing Summer's sun or spoiled by looming grey clouds. You'll be able to dive into the world's most iconic sea, surrounded by jagged mountains and made clear by pebbled seasides, and feel revitalised, re-energised and reignited...

 
Cinque Terre, Italy – a stunning coalesce of sea and sky



Doesn't this sound tempting? As miraculous as it would be it is not impossible. Let the magic of an MSC cruise transform your standard Autumn into the perfect place and time, that is: Spring in the Mediterranean.
 
 





Spring in Spain is a brilliant mix of colours and scents to discover

Cruise past iconic and picturesque shorelines in the absolute comfort of a summer dress and shoal (or cool cotton shorts and shirts for the gents). Experience sheer luxury at ease as a refreshing Spring breeze whips through your hair and whistles ocean melodies from a dream time come true. Indulge in Italian inspired dishes each night that will tantalise your taste buds whilst you mingle with new friends and revisit your journeys from your cruise trip thus far.

Be swept up in our unique world that is cruising; where friends turn into family, days morph into nights and your cabin view changes from town to town, region to region, country to country. Imagine the likes of the Greek Islands, French seasides, Italian country towns and Spanish city centres welcoming you each day.
 



                                        Spring time relaxing on-board MSC Fantasia in the Med
 
Envisage a mirage of colour, music, romance, inviting cultures, new friendships, gastronomy, carafes of vino, dance and laughter. This is what your life aboard a stunning state of the art MSC ship in Spring would comprise. Watch the our #MedWayOfLife video below for some journey inspiration:
 
 
 


Embark on a Spring cruise with  MSC and set sail to a unique way of life where days metamorphose into a collection of very memorable and very magic Mediterranean moments, click HERE to plan your 2014 Spring fling today!
 

Friday, 24 January 2014

UNICEF & MSC CRUISES - A STRONG PARTNERSHIP

By the end of 2012, MSC Cruises' three-and-a-half year partnership with UNICEFand their joint "Get on Board for Children" initiative will have raised two million euros for an innovative project designed to combat poverty and inequality by helping ensure that disadvantaged Brazilian children gain access to quality education.
Brazil is one of the 11 most unequal countries in the world and has alarming levels of poverty in its favelas. MSC Cruises has been market leader in the country since 2008 and is proud to have demonstrated its commitment to the local community through its successful partnership with UNICEF.
The 'Platform for Urban Centres', supported by the partnership, focuses on combating inequalities by ensuring better quality and more equal education opportunities for the vulnerable children of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro using a bottom-up integrated approach in which the community is a vital part of the solution.
Since July 2009, guests on board each ship in the MSC Cruises’ fleet have been invited to 'get on board for children’ and make a difference by offering a small donation in addition to their cruise fare. These donations have had a huge impact on the lives of thousands of children and young people living in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and on the public policies needed to create a more equal society.


More than 3,300 children and adolescents with disabilities are now attending regular schools in the cities' school systems, over 130,000 children are attending day care centres, and an extra 1,000 children were able to finish primary education at the appropriate age since the programme began.
The programme focuses on empowering communities through peer-to-peer training, with more than 3,400 children and adolescents and 3,400 leaders from the 127 participating communities now trained as ambassadors for the programme. This has led to the preparation of over 60 local action plans to improve access and quality of education services, half of which are already being implemented.
More than 60 education themed events and activities have been held by the communities participating in the project, schools are now working more closely with NGOs, parents and health services, and community leaders are actively participating in the preparation of municipal education plans.

 

The programme has also helped to generate important results outside of the classroom. The number of people using family health care programmes in Rio de Janeiro grew from 22.6% in 2008 to 62.3% in 2010, while the percentage of women receiving prenatal healthcare in Sao Paulo rose from 73% in 2008 to 77% in 2011. With the help of the project, the number of centres for social welfare in Sao Paulo increased from 31 in 2008 to 46 in 2011, and homicide rates amongst adolescents in Rio de Janeiro were reduced from 38 deaths per 100,000 habitants in 2008 to 30.9 deaths per 100,000 habitants in 2010