From left: Gianni Onorato and Helen Huang

Gianni Onorato, president and CEO of MSC Cruises, said that additional supply coming into China will be good for the industry. MSC has also recently launched its own sales and marketing platform in China.

MSC currently has a two-year deal with CAISSA Touristic Group which is chartering the MSC Lirica and sourcing Chinese passengers.

Now, MSC is laying the groundwork for a new chapter in the Chinese market when the MSC Splendida arrives in Shanghai in 2018. A new office has been opened, with the company naming Helen Huang as its president, Greater China.

"The future of MSC in China is with our own organization and our own sales, in which CAISSA will be a partner," said Onorato.

"I think competition always helps," he continued, speaking to a large contingent of Chinese press and Cruise Industry News at China Cruise Shipping. "Additional supply will help the market grow. We all know and we all agree that there is great potential for mainland China. In order to develop this potential, we need to have the supply here.

"The supply must be competitive and diversified, offering different products, so consumers can make their own choices," Onorato said. "More players also mean there will be more marketing money. We all say it's important to explain to the consumers what a cruise is."

Onorato said the brand was the biggest in South America and Europe, and was working to build up in North America, and also has its sights set on China.