Mainstream package holidaymakers rather than regular cruisers will be the focus market for MSC Cruises, according to chief executive Pierfrancesco Vago.
Speaking during the launch in Naples of the tenth cruiseliner in the fleet, MSC Fantasia, which it has dubbed the “most beautiful cruise ship in the world”, he said: “I want to look for tourists and not for cruisers. I want first-time cruisers. This is a ship which is fun and for all ages, for children and for families.
“MSC Cruises is focusing on making the cruise a destination for holidaymakers. With MSC Fantasia we think we have reached a whole new level of cruising and we can finally say the ship has become a destination.”
He said it was important for the cruise industry as a whole to educate the public about the value of a cruise holiday especially in the current economic climate.
He said: “The buying public out there do not know all the convenience a cruise offers. We want to make it more accessible to everyone.”
He was confident about the year ahead for the private Italian company.
“MSC has shown the biggest growth in the industry. We have a trend of 11.5% growth. We have numbers that confirm the trend of growth (in cruise). We surpassed the four million mark in 2007 for the number of passengers on MSC and we have a projection of 4.6 million in 2008,” he added.
MSC works with 40,000 travel agencies across Europe and offers 125 itineraries to customers and calls at 149 ports.
Hollywood star Sophia Loren christened MSC Fantasia on Thursday.