MSC Cruises is poised to announce a major refit of its 1,500-passenger Lirica class of ships.

Travel Weekly understands the ships will be cut and stretched, with up to 800 extra cabins being installed across the fleet.

The cruise line is focusing on ensuring its current fleet is of the highest standard and it is unlikely any new ships will be added within the next three years.

However orders for ships to be introduced after that period are expected to be placed soon.

The Lirica refit is likely to be part of the company’s strategy to build revenue from the UK market, and to help build greater brand awareness.

More balconies will be added to the ships during their refit in order to attract more UK customers.

One of the ships could also sail from the UK on a regular basis.

Last week, former Carnival UK sales director Giles Hawke started as the new UK managing director.

He told Travel Weekly he was keen to build on the relationships currently in place with travel agents.