MSC Cruises is inching closer to a ship order, and could introduce multiple prototypes to the cruise market in coming years, according to Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, speaking with Cruise Industry News at Cruise Shipping Miami.
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“We need to build more ships,” Vago said. “My dream is to invent the iPhone of the cruise industry.”
And MSC will continue building larger ships, Vago continued, adding that in 10 years, he hopes MSC will double in size. If that holds true, MSC will carry north of 3.3 million passengers by 2024.
Is there sufficient demand?
“The penetration of the industry is marginal,” Vago answered.
“Economies of scale are important,” he noted. “Bigger is better in our case. There are economic advantages that are passed onto the final customer.”
After building up in Europe since 2004, Vago continued that the company was now moving forth to become more global, and North America is very important.
By basing the MSC Divina in Miami, the cruise line has entered the most competitive part of the North American market. The ship’s year-round Caribbean program is supported by an expanding staff at the company’s Ft. Lauderdale office, and a much bigger marketing budget.
In addition, Miami offers a key air gateway for European passengers. Future newbuilds may be tailored to the North America market, and New York has been rumored to be a leading homeport candidate due to ample airlift into the area’s airports.
With 50 regional offices globally, Vago said growth with come organically from local markets.
In Asia for instance, an office in Shanghai is reaping benefits, sourcing passengers who have traded in European bus tours for cruises in the Mediterranean.
Read an extended interview and special MSC Cruises feature in the summer interview of Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine.