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MSC Cruises

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MSC Cruises
Company typePrivately held company
Founded1988; 36 years ago (1988) Naples, Italy
FounderGianluigi Aponte
Area served
Number of employees
ParentMediterranean Shipping Company
SubsidiariesExplora Journeys

MSC Cruises (Italian: MSC Crociere) is a Swiss-Italian global cruise line based in Geneva, with operations offices in Naples, Genoa and Venice. It was founded in 1988 in Naples, Italy, as part of the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). In addition to being the world's largest privately held cruise company, employing about 23,500 people worldwide and with offices in 45 countries as of 2017,[1] MSC Cruises is the third-largest cruise company in the world, after Carnival Corporation & plc and Royal Caribbean Group, with a 10.2% share of all passengers carried in 2021.[2]


StarLauro Cruises[edit]

MSC Monterey, one of the lines first ships

In 1988 Gianluigi Aponte, founder of Mediterranean Shipping Company cargo shipping company, decided to enter the cruise industry and purchased the Achille Lauro from Flotta Lauro Line. He retained "Lauro" in the company name in honour of his mentor, naming the new cruise line StarLauro Cruises.[3] The original Lauro Lines (Italian: Flotta Lauro) was originally founded in Naples, Italy by Achille Lauro in the 1940s.

In 1990 Mediterranean Shipping Co. purchased the Monterey to sail for their StarLauro Cruises brand.

MSC Cruises[edit]

MSC Lirica, MSC Cruises first purpose-built ship

In 1995, StarLauro Cruises was rebranded as MSC Cruises, with the livery changed from the blue funnel star logo to a white funnel with the MSC Logo.[4]

Melody purchased by MSC in 1997

In 1997 MSC purchased the Atlantic from Premier Cruise Lines, and renamed the ship Melody.

In 2003 the MSC Lirica entered service, the first new purpose built ship for the cruise line.

In 2014, MSC Cruises announced that the four Mistral class ships underwent renovation under the "Renaissance Programme".[5]

In July 2018, the company announced that it would build a second cruise terminal at PortMiami for its World-class cruise ships as an expansion of its North American program. It is scheduled to be completed in October 2022.[6] In October 2018, MSC announced an order for four luxury ships of 64,000 gross tons each.[7] These ultra-luxury vessels were to be based on the cruise line's luxury concept, the "MSC Yacht Club."[7]

In January 2019, MSC Cruises unveiled the world's first virtual personal cruise assistant - ZOE, an artificial intelligence device designed by Harman International. It is currently featured on MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa and will be featured on future newbuilds upon their delivery.[8][9]

In mid 2020, MSC Cruises suspended most (or all) of their operations for over six months during the COVID-19 pandemic.[10]

On 7 January 2021, MSC had released a plan for the MSC Grandiosa to start its 7-night cruises on 24 January 2021 and for MSC Magnifica to start its 10-night cruises on 14 February 2021, both in the Mediterranean. Only passengers who were residents of Schengen countries would be accepted until further notice, however.[10]

On 9 January 2021, a report stated MSC was hoping to resume some cruises in Europe in the near future but added that "it remains to be seen whether this will go ahead with much of the continent still in lockdown".[10]

In June 2021, MSC announced a new luxury brand named Explora Journeys, with four vessels planned beginning with the Explora I.[11][12]

In March 2022, MSC Cruises signed a multi-year deal with Formula 1 to become their official cruise partner.[13] They were the title sponsor of the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix.[14]

In January 2023, MSC Cruises announced a new multi-year partnership agreement with the New York Knicks. The deal gets MSC promotion during Knicks home games, including LED signage, virtual-on-court signage, and the opportunity to serve as the presenting partner during in-game t-shirt tosses.[15]

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve[edit]

The man-made lagoon located in the middle of Ocean Cay

In December 2015, MSC Cruises signed a 100-year lease for the private island of Ocean Cay in the Bahamas to develop the land for an exclusive island experience.[16] The site had previously been used to mine white Aragonite sand for decades, and after the original owners abandoned the 95 acre island, the land had to be restored to remove all of the old mining equipment, with MSC Cruises committing $200 million for the project involving restoration and conversion of the island into a private resort.[17]

The restoration required the work of many scientists to bring the area back into a functioning marine habitat. And, once the Bahamian government granted the site marine reserve status, the project was then officially named the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and was set to open in mid-November 2019, but weather delays pushed the date to 5 December 2019.[18]


Current fleet[edit]

Ship Built Builder Joined MSC Gross tonnage Flag Notes Image
MSC Armonia 2001 Chantiers de l'Atlantique May 2004 65,542  Panama Built as the MS European Vision for Festival Cruises
MSC Sinfonia 2002 March 2005 65,542  Panama Built as the MS European Stars for Festival Cruises
MSC Lirica 2003 March 2003 65,591  Panama First purpose built newbuild for MSC Cruises
MSC Opera 2004 March 2004 65,591  Panama
Musica class
MSC Musica 2006 Aker Yards (Saint-Nazaire) July 2006 92,409  Panama
MSC Orchestra 2007 May 2007 92,409  Panama
MSC Poesia 2008 Aker Yards/STX Europe (Saint-Nazaire) Oct 2008 92,627  Panama
MSC Magnifica 2010 STX Europe (Saint-Nazaire) March 2010 95,128  Panama Modified Musica class
Fantasia class
MSC Fantasia 2008 Aker Yards/STX Europe (Saint-Nazaire) Dec 2008 137,936  Panama
MSC Splendida 2009 July 2009 137,936  Panama
MSC Divina 2012 STX Europe (Saint-Nazaire) June 2012 139,400  Panama Modified Fantasia class
MSC Preziosa 2013 March 2013 139,400  Panama Modified Fantasia class[19]
Seaside class
MSC Seaside 2017 Fincantieri Nov 2017 153,516  Malta
MSC Seaview 2018 June 2018 153,516  Malta
Seaside EVO-class
MSC Seashore 2021 Fincantieri August 2021 170,412  Malta
MSC Seascape 2022[20] November 2022 170,400[21]  Malta
Meraviglia class
MSC Meraviglia 2017 STX Europe (Saint-Nazaire) May 2017 171,598  Malta
MSC Bellissima 2019 Chantiers de l'Atlantique March 2019 171,598  Malta
Meraviglia Plus-class
MSC Grandiosa 2019 Chantiers de l'Atlantique November 2019 181,541  Malta [22]
MSC Virtuosa 2021 May 2021 181,541  Malta [22]
MSC Euribia[23] 2023[24] May 2023 184,011  Malta Second ship powered by liquid natural gas (LNG) to join the fleet. MSC Euribia - 3 juin 2023 - Saint-Nazaire, France
World Class
MSC World Europa[25] 2022[26] Chantiers de l'Atlantique December 2022 215,863[27]  Malta Originally named MSC Europa[28]

Largest ship built for MSC Cruises and first in the fleet powered by LNG with solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and having "G"-shape bow design

Future ships[edit]

Ship Due to enter service Builder Gross tonnage Notes Image
World class
MSC World America[29][30] 2025[30] Chantiers de l'Atlantique 215,863[27] LNG-fueled cruise ship [31]
MSC World Asia[32][30] 2026[27] Chantiers de l'Atlantique 215,863[27] LNG-fueled cruise ship [31]
TBA[33] 2027[27] Chantiers de l'Atlantique 215,863[27] LNG-fueled cruise ship [31]

Former ships[edit]

Ship Built Builder In Service for MSC Gross tonnage Notes Image
Achille Lauro 1947 Scheepsbouw-Maatschappij De Schelde, Vlissingen, Netherlands 1988- 1994 23,629 Built for Royal Rotterdam Lloyd as the MS Willem Ruys. Sank after catching fire in 1994.
Monterey 1952 Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Maryland, United States 1990- 2006 20,000 Originally known as SS Free State Mariner. Previously Monterey for Matson Lines and Monterey for Aloha Pacific Cruises. Scrapped in 2007.
Symphony 1951 Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson, England 1994- 2000 16,000 Previously Provence for SGTM Line and Enrico C for Costa Cruises. Scrapped in 2001.
Rhapsody 1977 Burmeister & Wain, Denmark 1995- 2009 17,095 Previously Cunard Conquest and Cunard Princess for Cunard Line. Scrapped in 2022.
Melody 1982 CNIM (La Seyne-sur-Mer), France 1997- 2013 35,143 Previously Atlantic for Home Lines and StarShip Atlantic for Premier Cruise Line. Scrapped in 2018.


  1. ^ "MSC Cruises Company Profile - MSC Fleet - Mediterranean Way of Life". Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Cruise Market Watch - Market Share". Cruise Market Watch. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  3. ^ "MSC Cruises - Our History".
  4. ^ "About MSC History". MSC Cruises USA. MSC Cruises. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  5. ^ "MSC Renaissance Program Begins with Laying Out of Armonia's New Section". cruiseindustrynews.com. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  6. ^ "MSC Cruises to Build Second Cruise Terminal in Miami - MSC Cruises". www.cruisecritic.com. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b "MSC places order for four luxury vessels: Travel Weekly". www.travelweekly.com. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  8. ^ "MSC Cruises Officially Unveils "Zoe" the World's First Personal Cruise Assistant". www.cruisecritic.com. Archived from the original on 28 May 2023. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  9. ^ Mathisen, Monty (1 February 2019). "MSC Unveils Zoe Virtual Personal Assistant". www.cruiseindustrynews.com. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "CRUISE & ITINERARY UPDATES". MSC. 7 January 2021. Retrieved 11 January 2021. For all cancelled cruises please refer to the FAQ Which cruises benefit from the compensation packages policy?
  11. ^ Payne, Holly (10 June 2021). "Steel cut for Explora I, first vessel in MSC Cruises' luxury Explora Journeys fleet". Seatrade Cruise News. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  12. ^ "Brand Reveal". explorajourneys.com. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  13. ^ Formula 1 (21 March 2022). "Formula 1 announces MSC Cruises as a Global Partner for the 2022 season". Formula 1. Retrieved 2 April 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Pettit, Carl (31 July 2023). "MSC Cruises and Formula 1 Have Something to Celebrate". Cruise Hive. Retrieved 1 August 2023.
  15. ^ "New York Knicks and MSC Cruises Partner on Multi-Year Marketing Plan". www.travelmarketreport.com. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  16. ^ Staff, C. I. N. (17 December 2015). "Confirmed: MSC Closes Deal on Private Island in Bahamas". www.cruiseindustrynews.com. Archived from the original on 15 November 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  17. ^ Arlene Satchell, Arlene. "MSC Cruises plans $200 million private Bahamian island". Sun-Sentinel.com. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  18. ^ "MSC Cruises Announces New Opening Date for Ocean Cay Marine Reserve". TravelPulse.
  19. ^ "MSC Cruises-UK News: MSC Cruises Welcomes MSC Preziosa". Msccruises.co.uk. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  20. ^ "New MSC Seascape Delivered from Fincantieri". 16 November 2022. Retrieved 16 November 2022.
  22. ^ a b Williamson, Jeannine (31 October 2019). "MSC Cruises Takes Delivery of first Meraviglia Plus Class Ship, MSC Grandiosa". www.cruisecritic.com.au. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  23. ^ "MSC Begins Construction of Euribia, Its Most Environmentally-Advanced Ship". 28 June 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  24. ^ Ebelthite, Shaun (29 June 2021). "MSC begins construction of third Meraviglia-Plus class ship, MSC Euribia -". cruise-arabia.com. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  25. ^ Kalosh, Anne (29 June 2020). "Chantiers de l'Atlantique lays keel for LNG-powered MSC World Europa". Seatrade Cruise News. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  26. ^ "MSC and Chantiers Mark Double Newbuild Milestones". www.cruiseindustrynews.com. 2 December 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  27. ^ a b c d e f McCarthy, Daniel (21 January 2020). "MSC Cruises Adds Two World Class Vessels, New Ship Class to Expansion Plans". Travel Market Report. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  28. ^ "Msc guarda all'ambiente, ecco 'Europa': a Saint Nazaire il taglio della prima lamiera". Primocanale.it (in Italian). Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  30. ^ a b c "MSC Names Next New Ship World America". 24 October 2022. Retrieved 24 October 2022.
  31. ^ a b c "New Cruise Ships - MSC Cruises | New Ships - World Class". Archived from the original on 13 August 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  32. ^ "MSC Cruises Holds Steel Cutting Ceremony for MSC World Asia". 9 April 2024. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  33. ^ "TESS -- Error".

External links[edit]