MSC Cruises announced today that PortMiami will be its exclusive homeport for its Caribbean sailings as of fall 2013 pending approval by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners later this month.

MSC is the fastest growing cruise line operating a fleet of eleven cruise ships with its newest ship, the MSC Divina, scheduled to launch May 2012 featuring its ship-within-a-ship concept - the MSC Yacht Club.

Beginning in fall 2013, MSC Cruises, which now homeports out of Port Everglades, will join the PortMiami cruise line-up. The initial term of the agreement is for three years.

“We are very excited to join the impressive roster of cruise lines operating out of PortMiami and look forward to sharing MSC Cruises’ unique style of Mediterranean elegance, international cuisine and white-gloved service with more and more guests,” said Richard E. Sasso, President and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez applauded the new business agreement and extended a warm welcome to Miami’s new upscale Mediterranean cruise brand.

“MSC brings another prestigious cruise brand to PortMiami’s distinctive line-up of ships,” Gimenez said.  “We are eager to welcome MSC to our Port.”

PortMiami Director Bill Johnson said the new MSC service will strengthen Miami’s offerings of luxury cruise brands. PortMiami, known worldwide as the Cruise Capital of the World, handled more than four million passengers in fiscal year 2011, more than any other cruise port in the world.

“For cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico and beyond, PortMiami is the port of choice for cruise vacationers--with itineraries to meet every budget and taste,” Johnson said.  “MSC is a great addition to our line-up.”

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who chairs the committee that oversees the Port, joined County Commission Chairman Joe A. Martinez in welcoming the international company to Miami-Dade County.

“We are grateful for MSC’s commitment to Miami-Dade County and we look forward to rolling out the red carpet for MSC vessels and passengers,” Commissioner Sosa said.