Ken Muskat returns to MSC Cruises USA in expanded role

Ken Muskat will manage all trade functions, hotel operations, contact center, revenue management, marketing and communications Ken Muskat will manage all trade functions, hotel operations, contact center, revenue management, marketing and communications

Ken Muskat is returning to MSC Cruises as EVP/chief operating officer for the US market after spending the last two years as CEO of SkySea Cruise Line in Shanghai.

'We welcome Ken back to the MSC Cruises family,' CEO Gianni Onorato said. This move brings all key trade and consumer-facing functions in the US market under Muskat during a period of strong growth.

Reports to Roberto Fusaro

Muskat will report to Roberto Fusaro, president, North America, and will directly manage all travel trade functions as well as hotel operations, contact center, revenue management, marketing and communications.

Onorato added: 'This has specifically been designed to ensure that all key levers of our US product are in the hands of the manager responsible for delivering against the MSC Cruises brand promise and experience within the context of the US marketplace.'

The appointment also allows for the future ongoing management of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and the development of a new MSC Cruises terminal at PortMiami to move directly under the management of the local team, reporting to Fusaro.

North America becoming MSC's 'most important source market'

'North America is quickly becoming our most important source market, thanks to the investments made in new hardware as well as infrastructure to meet growth in demand for our product by guests from across the US and the overall region,' Onorato said. This started with the deployment to PortMiami of the brand-new MSC Seaside and will be followed by other innovative vessels.

'Wanting to ensure that especially the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve gets the necessary attention from our local team to guarantee it meets and exceeds the expectations of North American consumers and travel agent partners made this the next natural step,' Onorato said. 'We have also included the development of our new, groundbreaking terminal at PortMiami, recognizing the importance of this key element of the guest experience.'

Muskat joins Fusaro and Rick Sasso, chairman, North America, in MSC Cruises USA's headquarters in Fort Lauderdale.

In his earlier stint as EVP, Muskat spearheaded the commercial efforts for the line's expansion in the US. He also chaired Cruise Lines International Association's Trade Relations Committee.

Before that Muskat spent 18 years at Royal Caribbean, in roles including VP on-board revenue, VP consumer outreach and VP sales, among others. He started his Royal Caribbean career in hotel operations, first in the entertainment area, then moved into product development and marketing.

2017 to autumn 2018 in China

Leading SkySea—the China joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Ctrip.com—Muskat beefed up the team and the product, oversaw new brand partnerships and new homeports and itineraries, and got a buzz going about SkySea Golden Era. All in less than a two-year period.

But RCL and Ctrip decided to end their joint venture and SkySea Golden Era was sold to Marella Cruises. It's currently being converted into Marella Explorer 2.

Posted 29 January 2019

© Copyright 2019 Seatrade UBM (UK) Ltd. Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Seatrade UBM (UK) Ltd.

Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review