A former boss of German line Aida Cruises and Carnival Corporation brands in China is to head MSC Group’s foray into luxury cruising.

Industry veteran Michael Ungerer has become CEO of the start-up brand, bringing with him more than 30 years of senior management experience in cruising as well as in luxury hospitality.

He will be based at the company’s global headquarters in Geneva, reporting to Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Group’s cruise business and broader passenger division.

MSC confirmed a €2 billion order earlier this year for four luxury cruise ships to be built by Italian ship builder Fincantieri.

The first 64,000-ton super yacht is due to be delivered by spring 2023, with the remainder entering service over the following three years.

MSC is promising a broad range of new passenger experiences and other activities as well as generous ratios of public spaces and innovative design.

Vago said: “I am particularly pleased to make this announcement as it marks a key step forward in the set-up of the organisational structure that will lead the development of our new luxury brand.

“For us, this was a natural progression of the work done across our contemporary brand MSC Cruises since its inception, including with the development of our highly-successful premium ship-within-the-ship concept MSC Yacht Club.

“Central to our new luxury brand will be above all respect for the environment – with the introduction of new ground-breaking technologies – as well as innovation in both hardware and experience, two core MSC values that extend to all our business.

“To this end, Michael – whom I wish to welcome to the broader MSC family – brings to the table precious and deep industry and luxury-specific experience as well as personal and professional values that are aligned with our own.”

Ungerer added: “I am immensely honoured and totally excited about the opportunity this one-of-a-kind, truly outstanding project presents.

“This crowns my professional career and perfectly complements my luxury hospitality and cruise industry experience.”