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MSC Meraviglia arrives in Saint John on Sept. 27, 2023. Image: Submitted/MSC Cruises Canada

MSC Meraviglia returns to Eastern Canada

By Brad Perry Sep 29, 2023 | 11:50 AM

One of the world’s largest cruise ships has made her return to Eastern Canada.

MSC Meraviglia sailed into Saint John on Wednesday — one of two ships in port that day.

Ian Patterson, country manager for MSC Cruises Canada, said it was their first time back in the region after a four-year hiatus.

“This time of the year is a time to highlight the fall foliage that is in Atlantic Canada,” Patterson said in an interview.

“There’s usually a series of three to four cruises that happen between mid-September and mid-October.”

MSC Meraviglia will offer 10-night and 11-night voyages, with stops also being made in Sydney, Charlottetown, and Halifax.

The ship last visited the region in 2019. It was scheduled to return in 2020 but visits were suspended due to COVID-19 measures.

“MSC Meraviglia is a ship that’s very close to Canadians’ hearts. It’s sailing very well from New York with a lot of Canadians on board. We’re actually seeing a lot of Atlantic Canadians on board as well,” said Patterson.

Patterson said cruise traffic has rebounded significantly this year. In fact, his company is expecting to exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2024.

MSC has committed to offering even more cruises next year. The ship is set to operate in Eastern Canada in April, May and August, plus the fall months.

“It sends a great message to the local community that we are here to support them,” said Patterson.