Fast-growing MSC Cruises is putting the brakes on its rapid expansion.

Gianluigi Aponte, chairman of the Italian cruise line’s parent, Mediterranean Shipping Company, told the Financial Times that it would slow growth in cruising along with its central business, container shipping.

"We could expand this business quickly, and this was our intention," Aponte told the British newspaper. "But the present economic situation has dictated a little bit of prudence, and obviously we are not ordering ships for the time being.

"It is very difficult these days to imagine growth in any of our businesses, until we see signs of economic recovery."

Since 2001, MSC has taken delivery of six ships. It launched the MSC Splendida on Sunday; it will take delivery of the MSC Magnifica in March.

In December 2008, the cruise line launched the MSC Fantasia, less than a year after naming the MSC Poesia.

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