NEW YORK -- MSC
Cruises is entering the Big Apples burgeoning year-round market
with the Lirica in April 2007.
Rick Sasso, MSCs U.S.
CEO, said historically, North America has been a seasonal market
for us, but we decided to bring more ships here in the last 12 to
We think MSC is the
perfect brand for the Northeast market, and our heritage style of
cruising has not been available in this market on a year-round
basis for decades, he said, referring to Home Lines, a company that
touted an Italian-style ambience onboard -- and previously
homeported year-round in New York.
MSC is on a growth
spurt. It recently finalized an order for two post-Panamax
megaships and now has four on order. MSC will debut one per year
As for the move into
New York, Sasso said the line would be prepared to take the Lirica
into Brooklyn, but I actually prefer Manhattans westside piers. ...
Our primary objective is to sail from Pier 88 or Pier 90 in
Itineraries are not
final, but Bermuda, Canada/New England and the Caribbean are all in
the mix, with cruises ranging from seven to 11 days.
With the cruise lines
Opera already based in South Florida, MSC now will be in both
places in the winter, though Sasso expects to add a ship year-round
in Florida at some point.
To build its brand in
the U.S., Sasso said the line will unveil a multimedia ad campaign
in February and will capitalize on its relationship with Sophia
Loren, the godmother of the Opera and the Lirica.
In addition, MSC is
beta-testing a sales lead-referral component of its B-to-B
relationship program called True Partnership, with benefits such as
higher commissions, cooperative promotional support, commissionable
add-ons and the like. The line plans to launch the lead-referral
program to participating agents within the next 60 days, Sasso
reporter Kristin OMeara Hillmann, send e-mail to [email protected].