MSC Cruises has confirmed that there will be at least one ship home porting from the UK for the duration of the partnership as well as several of the Companies large fleet of 17 ships visiting the port and the UK, as a destination on sailings including grand voyages, northern Europe adventures and transatlantic crossings.
Of the partnership Antonio Paradiso, MD MSC Cruises UK & Ireland said:
‘Whilst we’ve always had loyal passengers from the UK & Ireland, over the last five years we’ve been on a real journey in the UK market. We were delighted to see such strong organic growth which lead to our first ever full season sailing from the UK in 2018, followed by the naming ceremony of MSC Bellissima in the port of Southampton bringing guests from around the world to the city to celebrate the milestone event in 2019. We ended 2019 with the most successful year of sales ever in the UK & Ireland, something we are incredibly proud of.’
‘MSC Cruises is serious about the UK market and now more than ever we believe in the potential here and making this long term commitment to bringing even more passengers to Southampton is evidence of that. In 2017 we invested in a new office in the UK, we then focused on growing our teams and putting the right expertise in place to ensure we can provide the best possible support to our passengers and our travel agent partners, and now we are really proud to be further investing in the UK cruise industry at this incredibly important time for both the industry and the UK economy in having a home for our ships here in the UK.’
This latest commercial agreement is the next step for MSC Cruises as the brand has gradually increased its presence in the UK market to support the growing demand from UK & Irish passengers.. Feedback from both guests and travel agents following the first full season sailing from the UK was incredibly positive which has driven the decision to strengthen the relationship with the port.
Mr Paradiso added:
‘We are committed to providing UK & Irish guests with the holidays they want, and travel agents with the products they want to sell. This announcement is the result of the on-going feedback we have received from agents and guests who have told us they want to sail with MSC Cruises, from Southampton.’
Of the 21 available sailings the cruise line has further enhanced the itineraries available from Southampton with two 14 night sailings to the Mediterranean departing in July and August calling at ports including Malaga, Lisbon and Monte Carlo, weekend mini sailings to Northern Europe and seven night cruises to the picturesque Norwegian Fjords.
The new terminal which has received support from the Solent LEP and the Government’s ‘Getting Building Programme’ will benefit from roof-mounted solar power and will also have Shore Power connectivity installed. MSC Cruises is committed to charting a sustainable future which includes protecting the environment, supporting the people who work with us and choose to travel with us, as well as the communities and places that the ships visit and the Company does business with. Investing in this project is just one of the many sustainability initiatives MSC Cruises is supporting as part of the brands drive to continuously improve the fleet's environmental impact.
In August MSC Cruises became the first major cruise line to set sail following a global pause in operations due to the pandemic. MSC Grandiosa, the Companies’ flagship, set sail on Sunday 16 August from Genoa and continues to sail in the Western Mediterranean thanks to the industry leading health and safety protocols that were designed at the outset to adapt to a fluctuating health situation ashore. The protocol is built around a nine pillar strategy that includes universal testing of all guests and crew, protected shore excursions and specially designed ventilation for the ships, as well as all the measures implemented ashore such as social distancing and the wearing of masks when this isn’t possible.
To find out more information about sailing from the UK with MSC Cruises visit www.msccruises.co.uk or speak to your travel agent.