MSC Seaside, soon to home port in Miami; Florida
For a company like MSC Cruises with eleven new ships set to come online between 2017 and 2026 – contributing to a total $10.2 billion growth investment – it’s important to establish the firmest foundation possible in which to deploy in new markets, and both North America and China are still relatively new to the European line.
MSC Cruises has dedicated the MSC Divina to sailings roundtrip from Miami, Florida, but the line has vacillated on its year-round commitment – establishing it in 2013, leaving it temporarily and then returning again in 2015.
As it is, the Divina was an existing ship that was retrofitted for the U.S. market, and its success was questionable at the start. Initially, service and dining were particularly not up to standards, but the ship has much improved since then, making the Divina a wonderful Mediterranean experience in the Caribbean.
Now, the line is anticipating the launch of its MSC Seaside (rendered above) which, come December 2017, will be the line’s first ship to be exclusively based in the States from the very start, and with the ship’s launch will also coincide the opening of the line’s new Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas.
With the island destination alone costing $200 million, there is a lot at stake for MSC Cruises in the Caribbean next year.
So, the line is making a fresh start with its North American leadership team. It is bolstering it up by effectively putting two in the driver’s seat: 12-year-veteran Rick Sasso becomes Chairman of MSC North America, and executive Roberto Fusaro takes the role of President of MSC North America after his success in South America on behalf of the cruise line.
“With the ultra-modern and beautiful MSC Divina home-porting in Miami, the revolutionary MSC Seaside to be christened in Miami in December 2017 and to also home-port there, as well as the development of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve – the most exciting new private destination ever built by a cruise line – it is clear that MSC Cruises is committed to the North American market,” said Fusaro.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to take on this new challenge and excited to work with Rick and the rest of the North American team as we look to further grow our business in the region and deliver a unique vacation experience to guests on board one of the most modern and elegant fleets at sea.”
Similarly in China, MSC Cruises has meanwhile opened up an office for the line in Shanghai, where its MSC Lirica has been recently deployed, and appointed Helen Huang as President of MSC Greater China. She comes to MSC after regional endeavors with Costa Asia and Costa China. As more and more cruise lines enter Asian markets, competition rapidly grows, and MSC Cruises’ new developments in China show that the company means business.
“I look forward to a new journey to contribute to making MSC Cruises – in the footsteps of what the company has already accomplished in China – the most attractive brand to Chinese vacationers,” added Huang.