MSC Cruises said that when the MSC Lirica arrives in China next year, it will be staffed with “cruise ambassadors,” a role that doesn’t exist on the line’s current ships.

The recruited and trained ambassadors will be assigned to specific guests, MSC said. They will chaperone guests, acting as social host, fixer, guide and information point as required. The ambassadors, who will speak both Mandarin and English, will handle their guests’ restaurant, entertainment and shore excursion bookings, among other things.

MSC unveiled the ambassador program and other Chinese adaptations for the Lirica at a press conference in Beijing held by MSC CEO Gianni Onorato.

“It’s bold innovations like the introduction of cruise ambassadors that we believe will really make the difference to our Chinese guests, and keep them coming back to MSC Lirica,” Onorato said.

He Lirica is due to start sailing from China in May 2016.  Onorato said the ship will be staffed by "an industry-leading ratio of Mandarin-speaking personnel," with as many as 80% in some departments. It will have a large, varied casino with Chinese favorites and classics, plus a private baccarat and sic bo room.

Culinary direction and training will be provided by Chinese chef Jereme Leung, who will create an oriental fusion restaurant called Jia Yao. He will also oversee development of the Kaito sushi restaurant; the 20-hour-a-day Chinese and international buffet; and La Bussola, which will serve dishes from across Asia and around the world.

The Lirica’s entertainment in China will include stage shows, live music, dancers, illusionists and  cabaret artists. A dozen musicians will perform American, European and Chinese numbers throughout the ship’s lounges and bars, while the theater will offer three nightly sittings with magic shows, a professional tenor, full dance troupes and a variety of artists.

Guests can also attend a choice of themed evenings, MSC said.

MSC has partnered with Caissa Touristic Group to develop its program for the Lirica.

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