The Elite Travel Group spring conference will take place on board a cruise ship next year with Sophia Loren as a special guest.

Elite members will have the chance to sail from Dover to Cork on MSC Poesia, which is currently under construction in France, from April 5 to 8.

MSC Cruises managing director Claudia Baino announced details of the cruise to delegates at the consortium´s 30th anniversary conference in Jerez yesterday.

She said: “The ship is nothing like traditional cruise ships or theme park American ships – it has a truly Mediterranean feel. If you’re serious about expanding your cruise offering this is a chance to experience it for yourself.”

MSC is new to the UK market and has experienced a 20% increase in sales since January, she said. Sophia Loren will be on board with other British celebrities.