MSC eyes more agent partners and insists fares ‘above average’

MSC Cruises’ UK boss has said he is looking to increase the number of agents the line works with as he insisted its pricing for this summer was “above average”.

Antonio Paradiso, managing director for the UK and Ireland, spoke to Travel Weekly about the line’s prices compared with rivals and said there were lines offering cruises at lower prices.

He said: “If you see what’s happened this year, MSC definitely wasn’t the cheapest at all.”

More: MSC UK chief hints at Explora Journeys team expansion after restructure

His comments came during an interview on board MSC Euribia ahead of the ship’s naming ceremony in Copenhagen.

“This year our prices have been above the average, excluding the odd saving here and there where maybe we’ve had some better deals,” Paradiso added.

“But we should also differentiate the prices according to the destinations. Just to give you an idea, the customer who books Mediterranean cruises is paying a price most of the time which is 30%-40% higher than sailings from Southampton.”

Paradiso also emphasised how important travel agents are to MSC Cruises, saying it is an “ongoing project” to increase the number of partners.

He said 80% of UK business comes through the trade, but the line wants to carry on investing and build more relationships.

“We will always continue to grow the trade,” said Paradiso, adding that homeworkers have increasingly been in the company’s sights since the pandemic.

“If they cannot come to us, we need to get to them. That’s why we’re continuing to invest in technology, because it’s crucial for our growth.”

Webinars have been a key tool in this, he said, adding: “I believe we are one of the cruising brands that invests more time in arranging and performing webinars with new agents, or even the agents who are very familiar with MSC – bringing them up to speed with all the latest news and developments.”

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