MSC Cruises is to launch a new online training platform, through which agents can earn a place at MSC Bellissima’s christening.

The first 2,000 agents who complete all 11 modules in the MSC Masters’ training section called MSC Basics will be invited on board for the 4,500-passenger capacity vessel’s christening in Southampton on March 3 2019.

MSC Masters will go live for agents to access on Monday August 20 through MSC Book, the line’s booking system.

It includes modules on the line’s digital onboard system MSC for Me; routes and destinations; the line’s food and beverage offering; and MSC Voyagers Club.

Participating agents will take one exam after completing the 11 modules and, if successful, become an MSC Beginner.

A second second training section called MSC Advanced will become available later this year, said Steve Williams, the line’s director of sales, who described MSC Masters as “a fun, educational and interactive tool”.

Agents will become a MSC Specialist once they complete the Advanced section of the programme and then MSC Master after finishing the final stage.

Competitions, incentives and virtual tours of all existing ships within in the MSC Cruises’ fleet are available on MSC Masters.

Williams added: “Education is such a key part for MSC Cruises. We are starting to build a lot of brand awareness but there are still a lot of misconceptions.

“With MSC Masters, agents will go through the education process with us, but then 2,000 will get the chance to go on board and experience everything that they learnt first-hand.”

Williams revealed that launching an MSC Masters programme has been his number one aim since he joined the line in 2016.

He also wants at least 5,000 agents signed-up to MSC Masters over the next 12 months.

“We have grown our sales team to 17 people from around five or six,” Williams added. “What had become apparent is they had to do a lot of training with agents.

“My sales team can now spend more time driving incremental business while MSC Masters fills the training void that existed previously.”

Antonio Paradiso, MSC Cruises’ managing director for UK & Ireland, revealed more initiatives to get agents on board MSC Bellissima will be announced “in the coming months”.

He said: “We are thrilled to launch MSC Masters to the UK and Irish trade at such an important time for MSC Cruises.

“As we prepare for the christening of MSC Bellissima, the largest ship ever to be named in Southampton next March, there has never been a more important time for us to increase engagement and learning around our product and this is just one of many initiatives we will be revealing in the coming months ahead of the largest event ever held by MSC Cruises in the UK and Ireland.

“At MSC Cruises we believe in showing agents our ships so they can become as passionate as we are.

“We are excited to be using this unique opportunity to host so many agents on board to experience first-hand one of our beautiful ships.”