MSC Cruises has taken a further step in “ensuring a global presence” by announcing a strategic partnership with a large-scale Chinese tour operator.
As part of the cruise line’s agreement with CAISSA Touristic Group, from May the renovated MSC Lirica (pictured) will homeport in Shanghai to serve the Chinese home market.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ chief executive officer, said: “This is a further step in ensuring global presence at MSC. We will have a presence in most continents. China is the second biggest new destination we are proposing after Cuba.”
MSC is to become the largest mainstream cruise line to offer sailings from Cuba this winter.
The line will offer the sailings onboard MSC Opera, which will homeport in Havana instead of the popular Canary Islands itineraries the ship had been set to operate.
“MSC does need to invest in acquiring better awareness in North America and the UK and we believe our Cuba programme will be a big draw for them,” continued Onorato.
“At the moment we want to make sure China as a destination is highlighted and we think we can develop a market with a different European knowledge of cruising.”
MSC Cruises has been in China since 2010, taking Chinese guests to Europe and the Mediterranean.
Onorato continued: “MSC Lirica will feature many distinctive traits – including some industry firsts in service – especially designed for the cruising enjoyment of Chinese consumers.
“This will make it a much sought-after choice for cruises in the region.”
CAISSA Touristic’s president, Chen Xiaobing, said: “We are convinced that the newly-renovated MSC Lirica will bring exciting new holiday-making choices to Chinese guests and are looking forward to welcoming numerous would-be cruisers aboard, at a time when the cruise market in the country for this particular type of product is thriving.”
MSC Lirica is scheduled to reach her new homeport of Shanghai on May 1 after a 60-day voyage from Rio de Janeiro via Barcelona, Marseille, Genoa and Dubai.
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