MSC Cruises to return in March; 115000 passengers planned for 2018

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Based on one-on-one meetings that Port St. Maarten Cruise Business Unit has been having with cruise line executives, MSC Cruises has confirmed that it will be returning to the destination on March 28 with MSC Opera.

MSC Cruises will be making 29 port calls for 2018 bringing in approximately 115,000 cruise passengers. The port calls will also include the newly inaugurated – December 2017 – MSC Seaside which sails out of Miami, Florida and will make its inaugural call on April 4.  Destination St. Maarten will be the first port of call for many of those sailings. MSC Seaside, has a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons; 4,140 passengers and 1,413 crew.

The cruise line made 26 port calls in 2016 transporting 91,734 passengers to the destination.  In 2015 the cruise line made 24 port calls allowing 71,167 passengers to visit the island.

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Port St. Maarten Management is looking forward to the return of MSC Cruises, and will be working with the cruise line to strategically develop the relationship in the coming months and years with respect to the growth potential for the destination.

MSC Cruises primarily attracts Europeans but also markets extensively to mainstream North American cruise travelers.

The Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line employs 15,000 staff members around the world and is present in 45 countries.

MSC Cruises has a fleet of 12 ships. In 2014 MSC launched an investment plan to support the second phase of growth and in April 2016, the cruise line ordered additional vessels for a total investment of nine billion Euros for up to 11-new next-generation ships which will come into service starting in 2017 to 2026 making the cruise line the third largest.

MSC Cruises is the first global cruise line brand to develop an investment plan of this length and magnitude, spanning a horizon of over 10 years, from 2014 through 2026.

MSC Cruises is the brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, sailing year-round in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.  Seasonal itineraries cover northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, Cuba and the French Antilles, South America, southern Africa, China and Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.

Port St. Maarten is looking forward to the inaugural call of MSC Seaside on April 4.  The new Seaside Class has been described by MSC as a game changer that features a promenade with shops, restaurants and bars.

MSC Seaside will lead the way for a new generation of cruise ships with their revolutionary architecture and cutting-edge technology followed by the 1st and 2nd generation ships. MSC Seaside is the first ship in the MSC Cruises’ fleet to be christened in the United States, and thereafter is sailing in the Caribbean year-round from Miami’s port.

PHOTO CUTLINE: L to R: Port St. Maarten representative Alexander Gumbs, Vice President MSC Cruise Operations Albino Di Lorenzo, Port St. Maarten representative Lela Simmonds, and Port St. Maarten Chairman of the Board of Supervisory Directors Fernando William.

Source: StMaartenNews http://stmaartennews.com/tourism/msc-cruises-return-port-stmaarten/

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