MSC Cruises aims to make luxury cruising “more accessible” as it unveiled plans to enter the sector by spending more than €2 billion on four new ships.

The four 1,000-passenger ships will launch one-per-year from 2023. MSC now has 17 vessels on order in total, to be built at Fincantieri in Italy by 2027 at an  overall cost of €13.6 billion.

Antonio Paradiso, MSC’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, said the line’s existing 630 Yacht Club ‘ship-within-a-ship’ luxury cabins across nine ships already sell out a year in advance.

He said the four new ships, which will be dedicated to the luxury sector, would be “a natural extension” of Yacht Club.

“We have seen there’s demand today and we are confident we will fill them,” he said.

“We have enough agents and consumers to support the growth,” he told Travel Weekly, adding that the 17 new ships would increase the line’s capacity by 7%-10% each year until 2027.

Paradiso said the UK market was becoming “more important” to MSC and that the line’s research showed a third of British customers experience luxury three times a year and that they were more likely to opt for luxury when on an overseas trip. Millennials, he added, “enjoy luxury more than any other generation”.

“We are making luxury experiences more accessible,” Paradiso added. “In the past, luxury was a niche market, but I see this sector of the cruise industry becoming more popular.”

The new ships will be smaller than others in MSC’s fleet, which Paradiso said would mean they would be able to access “more-exotic destinations”, with “opportunities” in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and North America.