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MSC Cruises is expected to offer year-round sailings in Cuba after seeing strong sales of its winter cruises from the island.

MSC Opera will homeport in Havana this winter but executive director Giles Hawke told UK and Ireland travel agents at the MSC All-Stars of the Sea event this week it was “very likely” year-round sailings would follow.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Hawke said: “It is likely that we will have Cuba from winter 16/17 onwards. We would vary the cruises but the likelihood is we’ll stay in Cuba.

“It’s proving really popular – clearly people want to go and see it and experience a very different part of the Caribbean. Now being able to do it on a cruise ship adds another dimension.

“The fact we are the first mover into Cuba as a major cruise line also means we want to make sure we maintain that position and advantage that we have, and grow our product there.

MSC’s first Cuba cruise will depart on December 22. Guests have two full days in Havana before heading to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Mexico.

Hawke also said next winter’s Cuba cruises will have a Saturday departure instead of Tuesday.

MSC’s growth projection over the next 10 years is to double its passengers to 3.2 million across 19 ships.