The 481-suite vessels, still at the design stage, will operate under a new brand with its own senior management team, executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago revealed to Seatrade Cruise News in an exclusive interview ahead of MSC Bellissima's naming in Southamton Saturday evening.
Family still discussing brand name
The new brand name is still under discussion with family members, he revealed.
‘The ships will also sport a new funnel and instead of cabins and balconies, we are talking all double bed suites and verandas,’ he added.
‘They will be built on a superyacht concept and highly innovative featuring latest environmental and onboard technology with a generous passenger to crew ratio of less than 1.5%,’ he shared.
In a change of tack to operating larger ships, MSC Cruises announced late last year it was entering the ultra-luxury sector ordering four ships at a total investment of Euros2bn.
The first ship will arrive in 2023 from the Marghera yard, followed by a vessel each year for the following three years. In MSC tradition, the lead designer is De Jorio Design International working with other notable designers.
Why did MSC decide to also invest in smaller ultra-luxury cruise ships?
‘It is off the back of customer feedback that we decided to evolve this brand,’ he commented.
For luxury and adventure size matters
‘Luxury cruising is an interesting sector. Many of our guests who have experienced the premium luxury Yacht Club ship-within-a-ship concept on our larger vessels are looking for an even higher level of luxury, coupled with itineraries to exotic places, or off-the-beaten track experiences, or more adventure and in order to satisfy this demand it is important to also have a smaller ship offer,’ Vago shared.
‘In this instance, size does matter!’ he exclaimed.
‘We have spoken to some of our key travel partners about the concept and there is a lot of interest not only from past customers and individuals but also from incentives and charters,’ Vago remarked.