MSC Splendida, christened on July 12th in Barcelona by Italian icon Sophia Loren during a ceremony featuring several world-class performers, is the second in a series of Fantasia-class sister vessels to join the expanding fleet of leading European cruise line MSC Cruises. The new vessel incorporates a broad range of latest generation IT systems from leading cruise software specialist Fidelio Cruise which promise to set new standards of service and sophistication in luxury cruising.

The Hamburg-based cruise IT company has cutting edge systems in constant operation behind the scenes aboard the 17-deck vessel to support the ship’s 1,332 staff in the provision of first-class customer service to as many as 3,952 cruise guests. FC software systems on board the 137,936 gross ton cruise ship embrace most aspects of daily operation including fast and efficient passenger check-in procedures, central accounting in a cash-free environment, the very latest bar and restaurant management software including hand-held wireless point-of-sale units and base workstations, and state-of-the-art Spa management software.

General Manager of MSC Cruises’ Technical Department Emilio La Scala commented: “The efficient operation of ships as large as the Fantasia class is a huge challenge. But we are pleased to be working with Fidelio Cruise experts with whom we have developed a good partnership. We are already setting new standards of service excellence on board the MSC Fantasia. Now we plan to repeat the exercise on board the MSC Splendida.”

Tony Heuer, Fidelio Cruise President added: “Our latest software systems are specifically designed to raise efficiency and enable cruise operators to provide the very best standards of service whilst maximising revenue generation on board. This is the second vessel in the class to be equipped with our software and the installation has benefited from our earlier experience on board the MSC Fantasia.”

“Much of the IT on board is designed to support ship staff but our Fleet Management System is also built to enable shore-based managers to track financial transactions and activity demand on a regular basis. They can have updates once a day or more often if they wish. This enables them to monitor the performance of revenue-generating outlets on board, including restaurants, bars and casinos, as well as the popularity of particular activities such as shore excursions, Spa treatments and Business Centre usage.”

Tony Heuer also explains that effective passenger embarkation is a challenge for many cruise operators, particularly as the size of vessels increases. Fidelio Cruise’s Check-in Module takes a photograph of every passenger as they check in, storing his or her details centrally on the Ship’s Property Management System. Unique and specially encrypted cards are created for each individual, enabling them to go ashore as they wish and buy goods and services on board without using cash.

Features include the recognition of multiple credit cards per passenger, group invoicing and the automatic handling of discounts and gratuities. And cruise guests can review their spending at any time, either at the Front Desk or by using Interactive Television in their cabins. Meanwhile the cards enable cruise operators to track passengers continuously, enabling them to see whether guests are ashore or on board, as is now required by the IMO’s Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS).

Like the MSC Fantasia, MSC Cruises’ latest fleet addition also has an exclusive VIP Yacht Club located on the upper passenger decks. Access is limited to those passengers who have signed up for unique FC-encoded VIP cards, and is available via dedicated lifts which are programmed to stop only at the specific floors. Supported by the company’s software, specially trained shipboard staff cater for VIP passengers’ every need.

MSC Spendida is set to cruise throughout the Mediterranean and Europe’s Atlantic seaboard in the months ahead, taking in a range of inspiring destinations including Alexandria, Ashdod, Athens, Barcelona, Casablanca, Crete, Genoa, Madeira, Malta, Malaga, Naples, Olympia, Rhodes, Rome Taormina, Tenerife and Tunis.