MSC Cruises is on track with its five-year plan to introduce a ship year-round in North American waters, according to President and CEO Rick Sasso, who dated the plan back to 2004.

From 2000 to 2010, MSC Cruises will have grown ten-fold, he said. "We are becoming quite well known in Europe and the goal is keep the brand awareness growing here too."

The company has also grown its presence in South America where it will have three ships next winter. Plans also call for year-round operations in the Mediterranean, according to Sasso.

He attributed some changes to the original strategy as adjustments to what were then unknowns, such as the line ordering bigger ships. Also, it has not worked to go head-to-head in the seven-day market with smaller ships against 3,000-passenger ships, so MSC instead went to longer cruises, Sasso said.

"We are continuing to tailor the product to American passengers, but keeping our European and Italian style and ambiance," he added.