MSC Cruises is the latest line to agree to be promoted and sold as part of Saga Holidays’ new third-party cruising programme.


The over-50s specialist will have allocations across the 12 ships in the Italian line’s fleet, with a focus on fly-cruise sailings, from the end of next month.


This follows distribution deals struck with Azamara Club Cruises and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines in the past month.


MSC Cruises UK and Ireland sales and commercial director Lee Strongitharm said that as well as giving the line a new distribution channel, the deal would support efforts to take a greater share of the UK’s early-booking market.


He said: “This new agreement marks another significant step in the growth plans for MSC Cruises in the UK – both parties are focused on producing a high volume of passengers within two years.


“We have been working well together across all areas of each other’s business and having a lot of fun in the process during this early phase of planning for a July launch.”


MSC Cruises recently unveiled its new Experience Pricing approach for winter 2014/15 and beyond. The pricing structure supports early booking by ensuring the best deals and upgrades are always available furthest from departure date.


Strongitharm added: “Saga Holidays’ customers place a huge amount of trust in the brand and are very loyal, so this partnership is hugely significant.


“Saga clients can now take advantage of MSC Cruises competitively-priced and extensive fly-cruise programme – these are new customers for us.”


Saga Cruises chief executive Robin Shaw said: “We already operate a highly successful cruise business and are continually looking to expand this in-house operation.


“However, we also recognise that this venture allows us to reach out to more people, offering greater choice to today’s over 50s in terms of experience, destination and duration.


“Customers booking MSC Cruises through Saga will automatically enjoy a range of added extras including our VIP door-to-door service to and from the port or departure airport, and included travel insurance.”