The future of cruising activities in Venice is bright and promising thanks to the partnership between MSC Cruises and the Council of Venice.

This message was delivered at a meeting which took place July 26 on board MSC Poesia between Massimo Cacciari, Mayor of Venice, and Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises.

In 2009, MSC Cruises will reinforce its presence in the port of Venice. Each week from April to October, three ships - MSC Poesia, MSC Musica and MSC Armonia – will depart on 7-night cruises to discover the Eastern Mediterranean. They will dock at 89 ports of call (a 30% increase over 2008) and carry an estimated 410,000 passengers (an approximately 80% increase).

The figures regarding the current summer season are also positive. MSC Poesia and sister ship MSC Musica will remain in the lagoon until November 2008. MSC Cruises ships will dock at 68 ports of call, carrying 230,000 passengers. It is estimated that an average a of 107 euros will be spent by each MSC Cruises guest in the city of Venice.

MSC Cruises’ commitment to the City of Venice includes safeguarding the great artistic and natural heritage of this city. The company is also a voluntary promoter of the ‘Venice Blue Flag’ campaign, which limits ships’ emissions on the lagoon. MSC Cruises’ fleet is equipped with cutting-edge technology, particularly the eco-friendly technology for aluminium recycling, energy saving, and waste water recycling.

“Venice is a treasure of humankind and as such must be protected,” declared Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises worldwide. “Our commitment goes much further than only carrying guests to and from this port. Since the beginning, we have been closely monitoring the environmental impact of cruise ships in the lagoon. Our fleet – the most modern in the world – is equipped with the latest technology to limit to any possible impact.”

A coin with the Lion of San Marco emblem was placed in MSC Magnifica’s keel to reaffirm the strength of the partnership between MSC Cruises and the City of Venice. MSC Magnifica, the fourth sister in the “Musica” class, is currently under construction at the Aker Yards France.

Furthermore, MSC Cruises is a member of the Friends of Venice Club as well as a sponsor of the 2008 Carnival, the Historic Regatta and New Year’s celebrations.