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MSC Lirica arrives in Shanghai for ex-China cruising

MSC Cruises and Caissa Touristic Group celebrate MSC Lirica's deployment to China
MSC Lirica arrived in Chinese homeport of Shanghai on May 1, ahead of starting scheduled ex-China sailings this month.

The ship's arrival marked the start of a strategic partnership between MSC Cruises and Caissa Touristic Group, China’s leading outbond tourism service provider, announced in September 2015.

According to MSC Cruises, the partnership is the the first step towards a more significant presence in the Asia cruise market.

The last of the four MSC Cruises’s Lirica class ships to undergo a lengthening and refurbishment under the Renaissance Program by Fincantieri, MSC Lirica was fully customized ahead of her deployment to Shanghai, with an array of tailor-made touches for Chinese consumers.

Further finishing touches were made to Lirica at Fincantieri's Palermo shipyard last month prior to her leaving Genoa for Asia.

In addition to hardware and software enhancements to provide a customized ‘environment’ for the Chinese guests, the new partnership has introduced innovations in on-board dining, entertainment and guest services, 'which will guarantee Chinese guests experience a unique offering that’s tailored to their tastes, from boarding to disembarkation,' said Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises ceo last October at the announcement of the tie up with Caissa Touristic Group.

Exclusive personal Cruise Ambassadors will be on-board to ensure start-to-finish relaxation, entertainment and discovery, said Onorato. These professionals speaking Mandarin as well as English, will chaperone their guests at all the key moments, acting as social host, fixer, guide and for information as required.

Additionally, MSC Lirica has as many as 80% Mandarin-speaking staff in some departments.

Supplementing dining options from the Mediterranean region MSC Lirica’s guests will encounter oriental and international cuisine throughout the ship, created by celebrity Chinese chef Jereme Leung.

A packed 20-hour-a-day entertainment programme is planned with activities and shows for groups, families, children and couples, in addition to varied gaming options with Chinese favourites and classics, plus a private baccarat and sic bo room.