MSC Cruises’ UK and Ireland wave sales are up 60% year-on-year after the line launched its first ever TV advertising campaign.

Antonio Paradiso, UK & Ireland managing director, attributed the line’s best wave performance in its history to the TV campaign and the line’s partnership with Chelsea Football Club, announced late last year.

MSC’s wave campaign runs from mid-December to March. By the end of January, sales for the period were 60% higher than they were at the same time in 2018.

More than 90% of wave sales have been through the trade, and Western Mediterranean sailings on MSC Bellissima and MSC Seaview have proven popular, the line said.

The TV advert first aired on January 1 and has appeared on ITV 1, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky channels.

Paradiso said: “I really happy to see the effect that the TV advert and the partnership with Chelsea Football Club has had. The feedback from our agents and customers has been overwhelming.”

Marketing and social media campaigns will intensify ahead of the launch of new ship MSC Bellissima on March 2, Paradiso said as he revealed this year’s wave campaign will be extended until mid-March.

“Bellissima is the biggest opportunity for people to see what MSC is all about,” he said.

Paradiso believes the full ‘Bellissima-effect’ will be seen over March and April, after it becomes the largest ship to launch in Southampton.

UK director of sales Steve Williams promised more airings of the TV advert, adding: “It will all culminate on the weekend of Bellissima’s launch.”

Williams singled-out the sales efforts of independent agencies and miniples, adding: “Everyone is helping. We have solid commercial relationships, a good clear message and a rich and simple offering.”