MSC Cruises celebrated the return of MSC Divina, one of the line’s newest and most ultra-modern ships, back to Miami by hosting a special Veterans Day Sea Side Salute event honouring the men and women of the US Armed Forces. “Today is a special day for MSC Cruises as the return of MSC Divina to Miami marks a new chapter for the cruise line as we embark on the first phase of our North American expansion strategy,” said Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises USA.

“Today is also an important day for our country as we remember and recognize our nation’s heroes. A top priority for MSC Cruises has been developing military-friendly discounts and policies to say thanks to our nations’ troops, our veterans and their families for everything they do. I am thrilled that today we are able to host an event that both celebrates a key milestone for the company, while also honouring those who are making a true difference for veterans and their families.”  

During the event, MSC Cruises presented the “2015 MSC Sea Side Salute Award” to individuals and companies making a positive impact in the lives of veterans in the categories of family, small business opportunities and community activism. Honorees included:

The Torres Family for Providing Outstanding Community Military Service and Outreach – A military family that not only supports each other but goes above and beyond the call of duty in their support for the military community. Involved with Wounded Warrior Project, Mission Continues Platoon in South Florida, and “Combat Hippies,” Sgt. Anthony Torres and his family are enriching the lives of fellow service members as they rebuild the road back to their new normal.

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, and CruiseOne/Cruises Inc. for Providing Outstanding Small Business Opportunities to Veterans – Travel agencies that both help transition service members to civilian life by providing franchise opportunities and offering appealing incentive programs that enable military veterans and their spouses to become business owners.  

Jonathan Davidson for Providing Outstanding Community Leadership and Mentorship – A civilian who, after spending 25 years in the marketing and advertising fields, changed careers with the goal of seeking something with more purpose, more authentic and more meaningful to the greater good. As the Mentor Coordinator for Mission United, Jonathan now serves as a leader and mentor for veterans, helping them through the challenges of achieving personal and professional goals as they transition to a civilian life.

As part of the celebrations, following the presentation of honourees, attendees watched MSC Divina prepare to sail away from Port Miami on her first sailing since returning to the US. The night included cruise giveaways, fireworks, as well as a cake cutting with a sword (a military tradition).  Guests aboard MSC Divina were also involved in Veterans Day celebrations as they were invited to the top deck of the ship for a sail away party with patriotic party favours, including American flags and red, white and blue glow sticks.

Special guests attending MSC Cruises Sea Side Salute event included U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Karl Schultz, Director of Operations for the United States Southern Command, and Mayor of Miami Beach Philip Levine.

MSC Cruises military-friendly discounts and policies make it a preferred cruise line for the military. All retired and active US and Canadian military personnel and their families qualify for a 10 percent discount or more on balcony staterooms and their kids 11 and under sail free.  In addition, just this year, MSC Cruises implemented a new policy in which the cruise line will issue a full cruise credit for a future sail date if a member of the military can no longer travel due to redeployment or revocation of leave.

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