MSC Cruise managing director Giulio Libutti is confident about the future of cruising despite the credit crunch.
Speaking at a travel agent roadshow to promote new ship MSC Fantasia, Libutti said: “I think the credit crunch will end soon and that cruising will have a strong presence in the industry for a long time.”
He added that the cruise industry had seen a dramatic growth in the last 25 years and he predicted that it would continue to grow because a cruise holiday was “good value for money”. Libutti stressed a need to further consumer understanding of cruising in order to facilitate this growth.
Last night, scores of agents went to a London hotel to learn more about Fantasia.
MSC Fantasia will make its first nine-day cruise in the Mediterranean in December. The operator also plans to introduce two ships in the next few years, Splendida in 2009 and Magnifica in 2010.
Fantasia will have an Aquapark with 150 fountains that dance and light up at night; a cinema screen and a theatre that can seat 1,600 people. The Italian-style cruise ship will have a spa, 20 hot tubs dotted throughout the ship, plus 20 bars and lounges including a cosmopolitan jazz bar, a sports bar, a cigar lounge for smokers, a Tex Mex restaurant and a nightclub.
Upmarket clients can stay in the Yacht Club, a VIP section of the ship with 99 luxury suites, all of which are served by a pageable butler.