MSC Cruises has become the latest line to try and get a berth in Sydney for one of its liners.
The carrier, one of the world’s largest privately owned cruise companies currently spending billions on new ships, is in talks with Sydney Ports.
MSC has recently beefed up its presence in Australia, with a new Managing Director from its Geneva head office.
Welcoming guests aboard the MSC Magnifica, ironically moored off Bradleys Head while Carnival Legend occupied the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Alessandro Guerreri confirmed the talks and announced the line was also entering the ultra-luxe sector with four 1,000-passenger vessels to enter service in 2023.
MSC is making an “unprecedented” investment , launching 17 next-generation ships by 2027. It is well known in the Mediterranean, and has recently sent its newest ships into the American market.
The talks in Sydney represent its growing international ambitions.
“If an opportunity arises and we can homeport an MSC ship in Sydney, why not,” he told Cruise Passenger at a media lunch on board Magnifica.
The Musica class 2,550-passenger Magnifica is on a 118-night world cruise which left Genoa on January 5 visiting 51 ports in 33 countries.
She is a rare visitor to our shores.
It appears MSC is now determined to catch up after seeing the growth in Australia of rivals like Norwegian Cruise Lines and Viking.
“Australia is a very important market for us. While it is not one of our top source market, we want to grow our Australian passengers.
“We are studying the opportunity to homeport one of our ships in Australia and when will be the right time to do so,’’ said Mr Guerreri.
Of the line’s venture into the luxury market, he said: “Right now, we have the Yacht Club in our bigger ships – which is a ship within a ship. The Yacht club is isolated from the rest of the ship and has its own restaurants, swimming pool and butlers.
“Our Yacht Club suites are always sold out.
“We know how to do luxury, hence we have decided to launch four luxury ships with 500 cabins/suites – they will be our new prototype and they will have our unique DNA with butler service.
“Between 2023 and 2026, we will launch four new luxury ships,” Mr Guerreri said.
Ms Lynne Clarke, who has been made MSC chairman for Australasia, said that the luxury ships will be an important market for the line.
Magnifica, will spend another night in Sydney before leaving for Melbourne, Fremantle and Asia as she continues on her global journey.