The MSC Lirica will re-position to Europe next April, leaving her year-round position in the Chinese cruise market.
The MSC Splendida, meanwhile, will arrive in the Chinese market around the same time, slightly boosting capacity for the company as the larger, 3,300-passenger ship will be in China on a seasonal basis for MSC.
The Lirica has been on a multi-year charter agreement with Chinese travel agency Caissa Touristic Group, but that agreement ended earlier this year, according to the 2018 China Market Report by Cruise Industry News.
The Lirica will offer cruises from Venice and Bari to Greece and Croatia for the 2018 summer, according to the company, which cited demand for cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean as part of the deployment move.
Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, explained: "Mediterranean cruises are very popular with the guests and the demand is constantly high. Especially the eastern Mediterranean with its picturesque destinations like the Greek islands or Croatia enjoys growing popularity. As a leading cruise company in the Mediterranean, we are therefore pleased to announce today that interested parties can now book a new, exciting route with the MSC Lirica, which we have not yet offered so far. So our guests have a great selection of summer cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean. With the MSC Lirica, a total of four ships of our fleet will be stationed in the region next year."