In its attempt to establish itself as a leader in South American cruising, MSC Cruises will base a total of six ships in the region this winter, two more than last year.

From October 2009 to mid-May 2010, the Italian cruise line is offering three- to nine-day cruises from Buenos Aires and the Brazil ports of Santos, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.

The ships will offer a whopping 140 theme cruises compared with about 80 the year before, offering everything from bossa nova sailings to trips focused on dance, fitness, circus and arts and crafts.

The MSC Lirica opened the season in Brazil for the first time, sailing out of Santos on Oct. 23 and calling at Rio de Janeiro, Buzios, Ubatuba and Santos.

The MSC Musica, MSC Opera, MSC Melody, MSC Armonia and MSC Orchestra will arrive later.

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