The World America arriving to PortMiami in 2025 is part of a continuing story of growth for MSC Cruises in the U.S. market, said Rubén Rodríguez, president of MSC Cruises USA.
That started with infrastructure investments, from Ocean Cay, MSC’s private marine reserve in the Bahamas, to the company’s new terminal in Miami, he said, and continues with marketing to build awareness to ultimately drive bookings.
“For our guests, the most important investment is giving them more access to our ships,” Rodriguez said, in an interview with Cruise Industry News. “That means more homeports. We were only in Miami in 2019.”
Miami was followed by Port Canaveral, which is being followed by a year-round program from New York starting this spring with the Meraviglia.
“We’ve also announced a relationship with Galveston to develop a new terminal; that is our next homeport,” Rodriguez said.
Adding homeports has been key, as has variety in itineraries, as the company now has a strong three- and four-night Florida program in the short cruise market.
The company is also bringing its newest hardware to the market, which started with the Seaside in 2017; the World America has been tweaked for the U.S. consumer with the additions of a sports bar and comedy club, among other new features, such as a “food trucks at sea” style food and beverage venue.
“It will offer seven-night itineraries from Port Miami from our new terminal,” Rodriguez said, noting both options stop at Ocean Cay. “The seven-night Eastern itinerary is designed to provide more time in port, with an extended stay in San Juan into the evening, plus a full day in Puerto Plata, and a late-night stay in Ocean Cay.”
With a deal for a terminal in the works in Galveston, next up for MSC may be the West Coast.
“Our wish list certainly includes Alaska and the Mexican Riviera from Southern California,” Rodriguez said. “We don’t have firm plans but we are a rapidly growing company, and the U.S. is a priority market.”
Lynn Torrent, chief commercial officer, said the company was adding a significant amount of new business develop managers in the U.S. market to work with the travel advisor community.
“We are adding another director in the field,” she added. “We’ve added a vice president of field sales. We are significantly growing the entire trade sales support team.”