MSC Cruises’ Two New “Seaside” Vessels

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It’s hard to believe that a decade ago, the MSC Cruises fleet was only made up of a handful of ships, most of which were second-hand tonnage. Now, the line has just announced a deal with Italian shipyard Fincantieri for two brand-new ships to join the popular cruise line’s current fleet of 12 modern megaships. What a difference a decade makes.

MSC's new "Seaside" class of cruise ships will debut in 2017-2018. Rendering courtesy of MSC Cruises.
MSC’s new ‘Seaside’ class of cruise ships will debut in 2017-2018. Rendering courtesy of MSC Cruises.

Dubbed Seaside, these two ships will be the largest vessels ever constructed by Fincantieri, and the largest to ever sail for MSC. Purpose-built to cruise the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South America, each vessel will be 1,060 feet in length, with a width of 135 feet. Towering 230 feet in height, they will carry up to 5,300 passengers along with a crew of 1,413. The new vessels will have a total gross tonnage of 154,000.

For MSC Cruises, it’s a special moment. The company says the two ships represent the last piece of its plan to double the capacity of its fleet by 2022. With the arrival of the new ships MSC Cruises will reach a capacity of about 80,000 passengers a day.

The €700 million vessels will boast sea-level promenades that will circumnavigate the sides of the ships with outdoor deck spaces, shops and restaurants. They will also combine the best features of MSC’s previous vessels, including the highly-popular MSC Yacht Club, along with new technology that allows for greater efficiency including reduced fuel consumption and advanced safety systems that the company says go “beyond what is required by international regulations.”

In addition, both ships will feature expanded deck space and panoramic glass elevators.

Below the MSC Video of Both Classes; Seaside and Vista Class

 MSC Two New Ship Classes Seaside and Vista

Both ships are as-yet-unnamed. The first Seaside-class ship will debut in November of 2017, with MSC taking delivery of the second in May, 2018. MSC also holds the option for a third Seaside-class vessel with Fincantieri that could be exercised if the company wishes.

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MSC Cruises to stretch Lirica class of ships/Hawke reassures agents as he takes on MSC role

By Hollie-Rae Merrick MSC Cruises to stretch Lirica class of ships

MSC Cruises is poised to announce a major refit of its 1,500-passenger Lirica class of ships.

Travel Weekly understands the ships will be cut and stretched, with up to 800 extra cabins being installed across the fleet.

The cruise line is focusing on ensuring its current fleet is of the highest standard and it is unlikely any new ships will be added within the next three years.

However orders for ships to be introduced after that period are expected to be placed soon.

The Lirica refit is likely to be part of the company’s strategy to build revenue from the UK market, and to help build greater brand awareness.

More balconies will be added to the ships during their refit in order to attract more UK customers.

One of the ships could also sail from the UK on a regular basis.

Hawke reassures agents as he takes on MSC role

By Hollie-Rae Merrick

Hawke reassures agents as he takes on MSC roleThe new UK managing director of MSC Cruises has insisted he is not looking to repeat a strategy he spearheaded at former employee Carnival UK.

Speaking to Travel Weekly on his first day in his new position, Giles Hawke moved to reassure agents that he wouldn’t be “coming in and slashing commission”.

When asked about commission, he said: “I think most of the big commission moves in the market have already been made. The market has been stabilised, discounting is largely gone.

“MSC is in a good place and well positioned and I don’t see going in to the market and slashing commission happening.”

He added: “You do different things at different companies. There isn’t a one size fits all model, whatever the industry you don’t move from one company to another and decide to repeat everything that you did before.

“To reassure travel agents, I haven’t come in here with a mindset to repeat everything I did at Carnival UK.”

Hawke reiterated the importance of travel agents in helping to raise brand awareness for MSC.

He said: “I want people going into travel agents and asking about MSC because they already have awareness and I also want travel agents to know what MSC is all about and to understand the brand.

“I think currently you ask 10 different travel agents to tell you about MSC Cruises and you get 10 different answers.

“I would like 10 agents and 10 answers that are the same.

“I’m in the listening, learning and understanding mode for the next few months – then working out how we market to customers and give them clarity and getting people’s minds more on the brand than they have ever been before.”

Giles said MSC had always been a very trade-focused brand, and maintained that would not change. He said the line would be doing more ship visits and fam trips for agents because agents represent a large proportion of MSCs sales.

In the short term, Giles said he would be meeting with key agents to hear their thoughts on MSC, he hopes to see a many agents as possible before the end of the year.