MSC Cruises doubles down on luxury ships
Cruisers seeking a luxury experience are about to have even more options.
MSC Cruises announced recently it will roll out four new 1,000-passenger ships aimed at the luxury market. The first will launch in 2023. The expansion will bring MSC’s total fleet to 29 ships by 2027.
The move comes as the Swiss-based cruise line seeks to increase its presence in the U.S. market. MSC Cruises has sailed ships from South Florida since 2004 and deployed its first U.S.-launched ship, Seaside, in Miami last year. MSC would not disclose where the new luxury ships will be based, but PortMiami agreed earlier this year to build a terminal exclusively for MSC’s use.
Though various cruise lines have announced they will introduce more than a dozen new luxury ships in the next five years, MSC executive Rick Sasso thinks luxury is a safe bet.
“The lifestyle today for people with affluence, they want special things, they want pampering, and they don’t mind paying for it,” said Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA. “We’re becoming a much more focused line on North America.”
The new ships will have 500 cabins, with a doubleoccupancy of 1,000 passengers, making them larger than ships from most other luxury lines.
Cruise industry expert Stewart Chiron said MSC will have a hard time competing with luxury mainstays such as Seabourn Cruise Line and Silversea Cruises.
“What makes them think they can compete with the true ultra-luxury brands?” Chiron said. “This is just more of the same.”
MSC currently offers a luxury-style experience on Seaside in the Yacht Club, an exclusive ship-within-aship area with perks including priority boarding, butler service and a private pool.
Last year, MSC Cruises deployed its first U.S.-launched ship, Seaside, shown here off the coast of Italy.