MSC tests Australian waters

MSC Orchestra’s arrival in Australia next year could lead to more MSC ships visiting Australian shores, according to a spokesperson.

The 2,550-passenger ship will be the first in the line’s fleet to sail Down Under, when she visits during a 33-night Grand Voyage from Dubai.

Arriving on 13 March in Cairns, the ship will call in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide before the cruise ends in Fremantle.

Aside from Norwegian Cruise Line and Costa Cruises, MSC is one of the last major cruise lines to leave Australia off its list of home-based ships or regular itineraries.

And with four new ships joining the line’s fleet between 2017 and 2019, it wouldn’t be out of reach for the line to send one or two ships to Australia – the world’s fastest growing tourism market.

MSC spokesperson Mike Smith told Cruise Passenger Orchestra’s arrival would test market. He also didn’t rule out the possibility that its part of plans to send more ships in the coming years.

“MSC Cruises will certainly test the waters during the MSC Orchestra visit, but have yet to make a decision whether another ship will call in the near future,” he said.

“As MSC Cruises says: ‘never say never’.”

MSC Cruises currently has 12 ships in its fleet. With the additional vessels it will increase the line’s fleet to 16, placing the line behind the world’s biggest cruise operators, Carnival Cruise Lines [23] and Royal Caribbean [21].

As well as ordering new ships, the line also announced earlier this year it would add extra capacity to its Lirica-class ships by adding 24-metres in length to MSC Armonia; MSC Sinfonia; MSC Lirica; and MSC Opera.

MSC Armonia is the first to undergo this extension this month.

She will debut as a longer ship on 19 November during a one-off 10-night inaugural Mediterranean cruises from Genoa to the Canary Islands.

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