– Today, Richard E. Sasso, president of MSC Cruises USA, announced a dedicated and specialized executive team has been assembled to build on the momentum of MSC Cruises’ expansion into North America and to ensure that the needs of the line’s travel agent partners are met.

Ken Muskat, former senior vice president Sales & Marketing, who joined the line in June of 2013, has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing, PR and Guest Services. In this expanded role, he will continue to oversee the North American sales, marketing, public relations and customer service aspects of the organization, while adding responsibility for the reservations department, handling trade and consumer reservations.

In making the announcement, Sasso said, “Ken’s contributions in under a year have helped propel awareness of MSC Cruises to our travel agent partners and consumers in North America. It’s been an eventful twelve months and we look forward to hitting even more milestones in the coming years.”

Muskat started with MSC Cruises in June 2013 as the line finalized preparations to home port the MSC Divina in Miami, its first ship with a year-round presence specifically for the North American market. Muskat led the orchestration of celebrations for the ship’s arrival, including the escort provided by a fleet of FIAT 500 watercrafts, as well as a number of travel agent specific initiatives, such as road shows, a dedicated radio program, launch of a travel agent Facebook page, and more.

Sasso also announced the appointment of Rick Cazzell in the newly created position of Vice President of Trade Support & Guest Services. He will take on responsibilities for reservations, consumer direct sales, customer service and IT.

Cazzell will report to Muskat, who commented, “Rick brings tremendous experience running call center operations, delivering customer service training and expertise in systems and technology that will elevate the service we provide to our trade partners.”

Cazzell brings more than 25 years of experience in a number leadership positions within a variety of travel contact centers.  Most recently at Silversea Cruises, he oversaw day-to-day operations of the direct sales team working directly with various other departments, including Marketing and IT, to deliver bottom line results.  Prior to that he has also led other such travel related contact center operations for companies like Interval International; PRC where he oversaw the Expedia.com’s Care and Sales teams; and American Express where he spent over 12 years in a variety of roles.

Shoring up MSC Cruises group sales department, Sasso also announced that MSC Cruises veteran Jim Henwood will take on the expanded role of Senior Vice President Hotel Operations and Group Services.  This new position will ensure total alignment and flawless execution of group business, especially the affinity group market, from the quoting process to the execution onboard.