MSC Cruises made its maiden call in New York on May 6 with the 2,550-passenger Orchestra – a first time for any of the line’s ships – which Rick Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises U.S., called “a stepping stone for many future (New York) arrivals.”

“Two and a half years ago, we wanted to have a ship sail from New York to Bermuda, but we couldn’t arrange the timing and the day of the week (with Bermuda) – so we put it on the backburner. But today is the beginning of New York (for MSC),” Sasso said.

Next April, the line will be calling in New York again with the sister ship, Poesia, on a trans-Atlantic sailing her way to Hamburg. And in fall 2010, the new Magnifica will be sailing six Canada/New England cruises from New York and Quebec City ranging from seven to 10 days. “And we will also be sailing another ship from the Northeast at the end of 2011 – maybe year-round,” Sasso said.

“The more we continue to grow, the more we will have a chance to bring ships to the U.S.,” added Achille Staiano, the Naples, Italy-based commercial manager for international market for MSC. “The Caribbean is also one of our most important sailing regions. In fact, we dream to have a ship year-round in the Caribbean.”

In June, the 3,300-passenger Splendida will set sail, and in 2010, the Magnifica. Sister ships Meraviglia and Favolosa, slated for 2011 and 2012, respectively, “are still in negotiations,” Staiano said. “We have to consider the economy, but we hope to know shortly if it will happen – perhaps within a few months.”