For Wednesday, we’re off to Road Town, on Tortola. It’s the capital of the British Virgin Islands, and home to about 12,000 people.
It’s a centre of yacht chartering, as well as a destination for cruise ships like the MSC Musica, shown in today’s Travel Pic.
The Musica’s a mid-sized cruiser, built only 10 years ago and capable of carrying 2500 passengers and a thousand crew – 65% of the staterooms are balconies, and another 15% are ocean-view (with windows).
She is operated by the largest independent cruise-line company in the world, MSC Cruising – an offshoot of the Mediterranean Shipping Company, an Italian cargo company.
Strictly speaking MSC Cruises – the firth largest cruise company in the world – is based in Geneva – but its Italian heritage is deeply ingrained into all its operations.
In fact, when I make a joking remark to a Dominican Republic employee about an amusing but absurd rule (relating to how much coffee had to be in a drink before it was eligible to be purchased with a voucher) she said she’d given up trying to work out why some things happened the way they do on board. Her actual phrase was “I just shrug, and say to myself ‘It’s an Italian company!”
Having said that, we found the MSC Musica to be a lovely ship, both from outside and on board.
She looks a bit like a block of flats from afar, but there’s a gracious, genteel feel about her .. and certainly, she was comfortable and stable as we crossed the Atlantic.
However, as you can see by her shape, she’s a classic cruise ship rather than an ocean liner … designed for the calmer waters of the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, rather than the Atlantic Ocean.
That’s why she normally spends five months in each – and only traverses the Atlantic twice each year, on repositioning cruises.