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MSC Cruises USA taps Royal Caribbean veteran to oversee sales

Michelle Lardizibal, MSC Cruises USA
Michelle Lardizibal assumes a newly created position that oversees MSC Cruises' entire US sales organization
MSC Cruises USA appointed Michelle Lardizabal as SVP & commercial sales officer, a new position responsible for overseeing the entire US sales organization.

Background at Club Med, City Wonders, Royal Caribbean

Lardizabal brings 25 years of sales experience. Most recently,  she led the US sales organization at Club Med where she was a member of the executive committee and worldwide leadership committee. Prior to that she was VP sales for City Wonders, a European guided tour company, where she steered global sales efforts as the company sought new destinations and distribution. Lardizabal also spent more than a decade at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in a variety of roles including director of inside sales & training, director of field sales and associate VP of global sales & distribution.

Support for travel advisors

Ken Muskat, EVP & chief operating officer of MSC Cruises USA, welcomed Lardizabal. ‘Now is a critical time for MSC Cruises as consumer demand and significant growth in capacity requires the full support of our valued travel advisors,’ he said. ‘The full commitment of our field and inside sales teams to supporting travel advisors, continued advancements to automated tools such as MSC Book, our very successful “Get On Board” program and frequent seminars at sea are just some of the countless ways the entire MSC Cruises’ team is working daily to show its dedication and support to the trade community.’

Lardizabal joins as MSC Cruises is investing heavily in the North American market, with the recent arrival of a fourth ship, MSC Meraviglia, the new private destination Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve about to open and the double-berth cruise terminal at PortMiami.

Reports to Ken Muskat

Reporting directly to Muskat, Lardizabal will drive the overall strategy of the commercial sales organization. Within her organization, Lori Sheller, SVP strategic accounts, will continue to be responsible for driving the relationships MSC Cruises holds with the industry’s largest travel consortia and key accounts, adding to her portfolio MICE and charters as well as casino business, critical growth areas for the company.

‘Joining MSC Cruises, the cruise brand that has the most aggressive and exciting growth plans in the U.S. market — with the ability to bring my experience from cruise, tour and land-based businesses to this next phase of MSC’s future — is an opportunity I couldn’t resist,’ Lardizabal said.