MSC Cruises‘ newest and biggest ship, MSC World Europa, has fuelled massive interest from the Australian and New Zealand markets, says Lisa Teiotu, Commercial Director, ANZ for the cruise line.
Speaking exclusively to LATTE onboard MSC World Europa last night in Doha ahead of the vessel’s imminent launch, Teiotu said the response from the Aussie and Kiwi market “has been incredible”.
“This is our top-selling ship for our Winter 22/23 and Summer 23 deployments,” Teiotu said of the colossal 21-deck, 6,762-passenger brand-new vessel which arrived in Qatar yesterday from the French shipyard.
“Since its launch, there has been extreme interest not only because of its environmental impact but because it’s a new class of ship for MSC, and it’s operating in a new destination for us – here in Doha.”
Teiotu said World Europa is a game-changer for the brand, telling LATTE “it’s a very special ship with a lot to offer that is new for our brand and new for MSC customers.”
MSC World Europa‘s positioning at the home of the 2022 FIFA World Cup has proven to be a goal scorer for the company, with Aussies in Doha for The Cup also keen to experience the new hardware for themselves. Here in the region until March, the repositioning voyage back to the Mediterranean from Dubai to Genoa is one of the top-selling products for the new ship.
“Australia, where we are a long-lead market, we were one of the first to really lead the sales for this product,” she said.
“For us, there’s a lot of excitement about the World Cup and people coming here, and the positioning plays into that, but the key product that we are seeing Australian and New Zealand passengers book is the positioning cruise.
“We know the positioning cruises have always been popular, but never to this degree that we are seeing with World Europa. To the fact that we’re almost sold out. Australia and New Zealanders have booked the biggest percentage of that voyage than they ever have before,” Teiotu told LATTE.
“This is the largest ship in the fleet due to the new design. The width of the ship changes dramatically with this class of vessel. It makes a significant difference and takes us to a whole new ball game with our ships.
“Obviously port infrastructure comes into play with a vessel of this scale of ship, but it is certainly a game changer for MSC.”
MSC World Europa will be christened on Sunday.
Record month of brand sales
Meanwhile, MSC Cruises achieve a new milestone with more bookings in October 2022 than it has ever had for one month in its entire history. Nearly 400,000 passenger bookings were taken last month for Northern Hemisphere winter 2022/23 and summer 2023 itineraries across its global fleet.
Vessels show higher than average historical occupancy levels for both Northern Hemisphere winter 2022/23 and summer 2023.
The line registered strong bookings for all programs, including for its latest flagship MSC World Europa, the soon-to-be-delivered MSC Seascape and MSC Euribia, which will come into service mid-next year.
Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, said: “October has been the strongest month for bookings in the entire history of our brand. This reflects the continued strong investments made in our fleet, which is one of the most modern in the industry with five new state-of-the-art vessels delivered only in the last three years alone and more than any other brand since 2017.”
“Our guests and travel partners also appreciate the continuously improving experience we provide on our elegant and sophisticated vessels, the truly global array of itinerary options available as well as our commitment to environmental sustainability.”
“We are seeing a strong demand with an extended horizon in the medium to longer term to such an extent that guests and travel agent partners are starting to close bookings now to avoid the frustration of not being able to find the perfect holiday option for themselves or their clients in a few months. These results reward the long-term vision that MSC Group continued to have for the business even during the pandemic, with investments not only in new ships but also in the quality of the guests experience,” Onorato added.