MSC Cruises’ upcoming cruise ships in the new World-class and Seaside Evo-class will debut first in Miami, before being repositioned elsewhere in the US, such as Alaska, according to Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises.
Speaking to Cruise Critic aboard the line’s newest ship MSC Bellissima, he said that Miami was the most obvious cruise port he could imagine for the debut of its new class of cruise ships, which are intended to help it secure a greater share of the massive North American cruise market.
“I imagine … World Class will be there, I imagine … Seaside Evo will be there, in addition to the existing ships,” he said, which suggests that MSC Cruises intends to have at least six cruise ships based in the US in the coming years.
The comments are the first confirmation of the homeport plans for the new ships, although MSC did previously announce that it was building a dedicated cruise port in Miami, large enough to accommodate the World-class.
There are currently four MSC cruise ships homeporting in the North American market.
MSC Divina and MSC Lirica cruise roundtrip out of Miami in the summer, while MSC Seaside cruises year-round from the city. MSC Bellissima’s sister ship, MSC Meraviglia, will reposition to New York in the fall, the first MSC cruise ship ever to homeport in the Big Apple.
MSC Cruises is not trying to compete with ‘the big three’ though (Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL), Onorato said.
“Our ambition is not to be in competition with the big guys there. Even if I put three, four, five ships year-round, our market share will always be below five percent. But let’s start to have a reasonable presence out of Miami,” he said.
“We might be looking at Alaska also, because Europeans might be looking at Alaska,” he added.
MSC Cruises is currently the fourth-largest cruise line in the world, the largest in the European cruise market, and on track to become one of ‘the big three’ in the next ten years through a massive 13-ship, US $13-billion newbuild program.
The Seaside Evo class is based on the Seaside-class concept, but with a slightly larger platform offering more cabins and public spaces. The first ship in the class, MSC Seashore, will debut in 2021.
The World Class meanwhile, will be the largest cruise ships ever built by MSC Cruises, and the second-largest class of cruise ships built by any cruise line (second only to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class).
The first of these 7,000-passenger beasts of the seas will be launched in 2022. MSC Cruises hasn’t revealed much in terms of on-board facilities and attractions, but external renderings of the new design suggest an interior atrium running all the way aft in a similar fashion to the Oasis-class.
MSC Cruises’ ambitious newbuild program has been good news for the Dubai cruise market, which is benefitting from the fleet’s added flexibility.
MSC Cruises will this year homeport its brand new MSC Belissima in the city, and recently confirmed that next year the revolutionary Seaside-class will be cruising roundtrip from Dubai.