MSC Orchestra’s arrival in Singapore marks MSC Cruises’ first foray into Asia


MSC Orchestra sailing in Asian waters

MSC Cruises made its first foray into Asia Thursday, a region it described as ‘the new trendy area of cruising and the future area of growth’.

Welcoming some 200 passengers on board, MSC Cruises ceo Gianni Onorato said: ‘This is a historic moment in our company’s journey – the first time an MSC Cruises ship has called at the magnificent city of Singapore. In fact, all 13 ports of call on MSC Orchestra’s pioneering grand voyage are firsts for MSC Cruises.’

He added: ‘We are in Singapore to show how firmly we believe in the Asian market’s potential, which is only going to grow further in the foreseeable future.’

Speaking to Seatrade Insider, Onorato disclosed: ‘We will be deploying into Asia and need to decide when. We will perhaps go to North Asia with one of our newbuilds.’

Neeta Lachmandas, assistant chief executive, business development group, Singapore Tourism Board, also lauded the move, saying: ‘This development is testament to the potential of Southeast Asia,’

She said cruise is a high growth business with a lot of opportunities and this growth is led by Asia where now some 52 ships are deployed and including nine year-round deployments.

A Boston Consulting Group study had shown that 60% of spending is going to come from Asia by 2020, she said.

‘Southeast Asia is a cruising playground in its own right – with over 25,000 islands and diverse attractions ranging from cosmopolitan cities to pristine beaches and UNESCO Heritage sites. We are excited that travellers from all over the world will get to experience so much of Asia through MSC Orchestra,’ she added.

MSC Cruises executive director for emerging markets, Antonio Paradiso, said: ‘MSC Cruises has grown 800% since 2004. In 2014, we carried 40,000 guests per day on our fleet of 12 ships, and with up to seven new ships in two state-of-the-art prototypes coming online by 2022 we’ll double our current capacity. We used to carry 80,000 guests per year at the start and we’ll carry 80,000 guests a day at the end of our investment plan. This growth will unlock fresh opportunities, including new markets and regions, and untried itineraries.’

The 2,550-passenger MSC Orchestra is currently undertaking a 33-night voyage from Dubai to Perth, Australia. The ship will call 13 ports in eight countries across three continents. Singapore is the sixth port of call on the journey.

After an overnight stay, MSC Orchestra will sail for Benoa in Bali followed by four sea days before arriving in Cairns, Australia.

MSC Orchestra’s time Down Under covers maiden calls in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, before her final destination of Fremantle, the port serving Perth.

While MSC Orchestra marked the first time an MSC Cruises’ ship has called in Asia, the line has been carrying Asian cruisers for a period of time, particularly in the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf. ‘We are the biggest importers of Asian cruisers in the world,’ Onorato said.

Cruise Giant Increases Megaship Order

By Michelle Howard
File MSC Preziosa (Courtesy MSC Cruises)
MSC Preziosa (Courtesy MSC Cruises)

MSC Cruises has moved to increase its order of megaships from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to two ships, with an option for third. At a cost of AUD $3.2 billion, this investment signifies a confidence that the cruise holiday industry will only continue to strengthen.
The Italian-Swiss shipping company currently operates 12 cruise liners, running numerous different sea routes simultaneously. The two new ships, currently nicknamed Project Seaside I and Project Seaside II, from Fincantieri are larger in terms of gross tonnage than any of the company’s current liners.
Alongside these recent purchases, MSC Cruises also has two even larger ships in production by STX Europe at the moment.
MSC Cruises chief executive officer Gianni Ornato said that the orders fitted into MSC’s fleet development plan: “Today, MSC Cruises adds the last piece to its new industrial plan that will allow us to double the capacity of our fleet by 2022,” he enthused. “With the arrival of the new ships we will reach a capacity of about 80,000 passengers a day.”
Cruise1st reports that Project Seaside I and II are scheduled to make their maiden voyages in November 2017 and May 2018 respectively. Like all MSC liners, the two megaships will sail under the Panama flag.
ImageBoth of the ships will utilise cutting edge design, architecture and technology, affording the ship unusually large amounts of deck space for the passengers to enjoy. Additionally, a unique sea-level promenade will be incorporated, utilising cantilever technology and featuring a large theatre, terraced balcony and panoramic views from an external passenger lift to the upper deck.
UK and Ireland Managing Director, Giles Hawke, explained: “The idea is to bring passengers closer to sea level so they feel as if they are at the beach.”
Other technologically advanced features include glass deflectors and tunnel technology that will give diners indoors the experience of dining al fresco. This has been implemented to take advantage of the warm weather routes that are being targeted by MSC for the two new liners.
Weighing in at 154,000 tonnes each, the 323 metre-long ships will be able to cater for up to 5,300 passengers in 2,070 cabins. The two ships represent a giant leap forward for MSC Cruises in terms of project size and technological ambition.
MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfranscesco Vago said, “From the moment we started talking with Fincantieri, we had in mind to design and build two completely new ships, revolutionary in their structure, unlike anything that exists on the market today.”
“Seaside is a futuristic prototype because of its structure, shape and versatility. We are getting ready for the new and compelling challenge that the construction of these ships represents. It will be a real revolution in the world’s cruise market, an excellent product for its unique and innovative architectural features and cutting-edge technology.”