By Hollie-Rae Merrick
As part of the major refit of Lirica class ships, MSC Opera – currently sailing out of Southampton – will be out of action for part of the summer months in 2015.
The cruise line said this led to a decision to halt ex-UK sailings for a year to focus on fly-cruise capacity out of the UK.
Giles Hawke, executive director for UK, Ireland and Australia, said the line would be introducing new tools to support agents booking fly-cruises with MSC.
He said: “As market leader for Mediterranean cruises it is important that we work to reinforce this position by increasing our fly-cruise capacity, along with improving our ships to include more balcony cabins, more onboard entertainment and additional technological advancements.
“We are considering various charter options and working with our air partners to come up with the best approach to keep up with the current customer demand for fly-cruises direct to the Mediterranean.
“We will also be introducing tools supporting travel agents in order to make the fly-cruise booking process easier than ever.”
In total the Lirica class ships, made up of MSC Armonia, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica, will be in dry dock for 28 weeks.
In September, the cruise line revealed it was doubling its capacity out of Southampton for this year by sending MSC Magnifica to join Opera for four seven-night cruises.