European-based cruise brands are set to grow in the Caribbean, at least seasonally, according to industry leaders at this week’s Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Micky Arison, chairman and CEO of the Carnival Corporation, said that while winter is challenging for Carnival’s European brands, the Caribbean is an area they can grow in, having the most potential for growth, despite airlift being an issue. He did point out, however, that it would be seasonal growth.

Meanwhile, Rick Sasso, president and CEO, MSC Cruises USA, confirmed during a panel discussion that MSC would most likely have two ships deployed in the Caribbean for winter 2012/2013, as opposed to just the MSC Poesia, which sailed in the Caribbean last winter and will again this coming season.

While MSC is taking delivery of at least one new ship in 2012, the 140,000-ton Divina, ending a decade of newbuildings valued at upwards of $7 billion, according to Sasso.

The Italian cruise line is also widely rumored to be taking delivery of the abandoned-but-still-under-construction GNMTC newbuild at STX France.

Sasso added that more capacity would preferably sail different itineraries. MSC has not officially announced Caribbean deployment for winter 2012/2013 yet, but has confirmed it will not send the Poesia to Canada/New England for a fall foliage season, as it has done in both 2010 and 2011.

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