WTM: MSC Cruises promises ‘all-British’ naming ceremony for Poesia

MSC Cruises has promised the naming ceremony of MSC Poesia in Dover next April will be an all-British affair as part of its strategy to increase bookings from the UK.

Chief executive Pierfrancesco Vago said 90% of guests at the ceremony will be from the UK and it will be conducted in English.

After the naming ceremony, the ship will sail to the Mediterranean via Cork to give Irish agents a chance to come on board. Vago said: “This is a chance for us to show the trade and consumers the quality of our ships. I am convinced this is the best product for the British market, and also a different product.”

Vago said one big difference is that MSC does not rely heavily on on-board spend so there is no hard sell in the spa, for instance.

He said: “While many brands are becoming the same, we offer Mediterranean flair. I don¹t believe customers should be channelled or pushed about on

MSC Cruises launched its first ex-UK itineraries this year on the 812-passenger MSC Rhapsody. For 2008, it is putting bigger ship MSC Armonia into Dover, sailing itineraries to the Baltic, Norwegian fjords and North Cape over a longer season.

Two-thirds of the 2,087-passenger ship are being sold in the UK, with the remaining one third of capacity going to northern Europeans, who will embark
in Amsterdam.

Vago would not be drawn on figures, but said he expects 150% growth from the UK in 2008.

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