The MSC Cruises fleet is expected to grow to 21 ships in 2023, making the company the world’s leading cruise line. Additionally, the company intends to become a “full tour operator” in order to support its growth.
“We are emerging from the crisis stronger than ever “ launched Patrick Pourbaix, Managing Director France of MSC Cruises during a press conference on October 4, 2022.
While the company hoped to complete the summer at 85% of the level of 2019, it should finally flirt with 90% at the end of November 2022. “The 85% threshold has already been exceeded,” specifies Patrick Pourbaix. “Last-minute bookings are massive, yesterday again we sold a lot for October.
From Marseille, we have never had so many bookings this summer,
Despite the health crisis, the company has maintained its ambitious investment plan with the arrival of several new ships: the MSC Virtuosa and the MSC Seashore in 2021, in October and November the company will receive the MSC World Europa (delivered on October 24 in Saint-Nazaire) and the MSC Seascape, and in 2023 the MSC Eurabia.
MSC Cruises: “Very clearly we are the leader in France”
In total next year, 21 ships will make up the MSC Cruises fleet. “Very clearly, we are the leader in France, far ahead of the second player,” affirms Partick Pourbaix, who recalls that the MSC group is now the 3rd group in the world behind Carnival and Royal Caribbean Group.
“We will even be the 2nd company in the world in terms of the number of beds”
The challenge now will therefore be to fill these new capacities. MSC has set itself ambitious objectives: “Our mindset in 2023 is a return to growth, but the figures for 2019 will not satisfy us ” adds the Managing Director of France.“We are aiming for +25% to 30% growth”.
Because the offer will indeed be “plethoric”, especially for the summer of 2023 on the Mediterranean with many departures from Marseille, more ships on the Adriatic, a boat from Rome, and another from Athens.
Further north, the company will also resume its departures from Le Havre with the ambition of going from a target of 200 passengers per week to 500 passengers per week.
“Becoming more and more a full tour operator”
And to put the odds on its side, MSC Cruises has the ambition to become “more and more a full tour operator.”
The group, which bought a network of agencies and a tour operator in Italy, is developing charters, block seats, and pre-stays.
Thus, in the summer on departure from Paris: 3 charters to Hamburg, Athens and Monfalcone will be set up, ie 450 seats for 22 weeks. Over the winter, an ITA Airways flight will be positioned towards Hurghada in Egypt from Rome.
As for the pre-stays which include the flight, 2 nights in hotels and transfers, they will be possible in particular in Cairo in Egypt, in Venice in Italy, in Miami in the United States, in Athens in Greece or in New York where the MSC Meraviglia will be positioned for the summer of 2023.
If the challenge in 2023 will be taken up, the winter season to come has yet to be confirmed: “We are less and less behind. This delay will be made up within one or two months, boosted in particular by the West Indies”.
The return of the West Indies from cruises
Indeed, the return of cruises in Martinique and Guadeloupe was expected by ship owners. In the West Indies, the cruise penetration rate is ten times higher than that of mainland France. “We are preparing for a very fine winter which will mark the return to normal.”
The new ” French Touch ” concept on the MSC Spendida launched in the spring will also be carried over this winter to the MSC Grandiosa, which will take over from November.
“More than 33,000 French passengers have chosen this new concept. The message sent is very clear, the French Touch is a real plus and we must amplify it “ specifies Patrick Pourbaix.
VS’lighter and with new capacities that MSC Cruises is tackling this new season which, as the general manager for France points out, will not be quite like the others.
“We changed gears!” Now it’s time to take up the challenge!