MOONACHIE, N.J. -- MSC Cruises tapped former Celebrity Cruises
president Richard Sasso to head its North American operations.
Sasso said he accepted a position as president and CEO of MSC
MSC Cruises, which markets primarily in Europe, is based in
Naples, Italy, and is a division of Mediterranean Shipping Co., a
privately owned line based in Geneva that operates 225 container
But MSC Cruises is a relative unknown in the U.S. cruise
business, something that Sasso said he'll be working to change.
MSC, he said, "has been growing very rapidly and building and
buying new ships. There is a need to create a North American
presence to accommodate that kind of growth."
The line recently was awarded the European Vision, which
formerly was operated by Festival Cruises, in an auction in
Barbados. The ship has been renamed the Armonia, MSC said.
MSC also has expressed interest in the two remaining Festival
Cruises ships, the Mistral and the European Stars.
The line's newest build, the 1,760-passenger Opera, meanwhile,
will begin operations in June; last year the line took delivery of
its sister, the Lirica.
In March, MSC placed orders for two 2,550-passenger cruise
ships, with an option for a third. MSC also operates three older
The Lirica and the Opera will be based in Fort Lauderdale this
winter. Sasso said MSC Cruises will expand operations in the U.S.,
including opening a Florida headquarters.
To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].