NEW YORK -- The 2,550-passenger MSC Orchestra sailed into New York Tuesday night, marking the first time an MSC Cruises ship has called here.

The stop is the first of three appearances MSC will make in New York between now and 2011. The MSC Poesia will call here once next spring before the MSC Magnifica operates a series of Canada/New England cruises in fall 2010 while based out of New York. The Magnifica is currently under construction in France.

Marking the arrival was a ceremony attended by city officials and MSC executives, including MSC Cruises USA CEO Rick Sasso, who promised that MSC would eventually base a ship here year-round, possibly more than one, and offer cruises to Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean.

"We are a household name in the Mediterranean and Europe, and we will be a household name in North America too," he said, adding that more homeports on the East Coast were possible. "North American and New England will see a lot more of MSC."

The Orchestra docked overnight at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal before departing Wednesday on an eastbound transatlantic crossing to Copenhagen, Denmark, where the vessel will sail northern Europe itineraries during the summer.

Sasso said this would mark the first time in decades that an Italian cruise line would sail from New York. MSC's parent company, Mediterranean Shipping Company, has based its U.S. headquarters here for 25 years.

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