Air France KLM and MSC Cruises marked the start of their fly-cruise service on 7 December.
Part of an agreement signed in December 2013, the service started with a charter flight from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France, which carried 432 MSC guests to their cruise ship in the Dominican Republic.
Air France’s new flight route was introduced to cater for the high number of MSC passengers and was inaugurated according to airline traditions. During the commemorative ceremony, the Air France Boeing 747–400 received a ceremonial water salute, passing under plumes of water expelled by the airport’s fire fighting vehicles before taking off.
Following their flight to La Romana in the Dominican Republic, MSC’s guests boarded MSC Musica for a seven-night cruise, which called at the British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Guadeloupe and St. Maarten.
Between late November 2014 and early April 2015, Air France will also provide flights between Paris Orly and Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe, as well as Fort de France in Martinique.
MSC has also revealed it will deploy an additional ship in the eastern Mediterranean next year to cater for the growing number of cruise passengers wanting to visit the region.
Between May and November 2015, the 2,518-guest MSC Magnifica will join the 2,550-passenger MSC Poesia and homeport in Venice, calling at Bari or Brindisi in Italy; Katakolon, Greece; Izmir and Istanbul, Turkey; and Dubrovnik in Croatia.
Currently, the 3,502-guest MSC Preziosa sails alone on these routes, but mounting interest in the eastern Mediterranean, and Turkey in particular, has increased demand for MSC sailings to that part of the world.
The extra capacity means MSC Cruises will be able to carry more than 1,500 additional guests to the region.