A very interesting set of speakers here at Cruise Shipping Miami- in Tuesday’s “State of the Industry” address, MSC Cruises’ worldwide chief-executive-officer, Pierfrancesco Vago, spoke about cruising trends in Europe.
MSC reports that passenger numbers have grown from 127,000 to 1,220,000 in seven years- and much of that is attributed to growth within the cruising region of Europe, which has seen a 163 percent increase in bookings in the last 10 years. This growth has ushered in a new cruise era, in which the “old world” has become the cruise destination of choice. “Europe is undoubtedly the top destination on anyone’s dream vacation list. Cruising the Mediterranean and Baltic seas has become the new iconic way to do the traditional Grand Tour especially for Americans, and increasingly for the Chinese and Indians too,” said Vago.
This sentiment is echoed by some big travel players: USA Today reported in 2009 that Europe was declared ‘the hottest story in cruising’ two years ago; the market has continued to grow at an exponential rate since then, a “healthy and vibrant market”, according to Vago.
This positive growth pattern is reflected with the cruise industry’s new ship builds; MSC Cruises’ 12th and newest ship, the MSC Fantastica,, is being launched in 2012. The 3,274-passenger vessel is modeled on the very successful ‘Fantasia’ prototype.
This new ship, in the MSC Cruises tradition, will integrate a European flair, spotlighting the utmost standards of service, onboard gourmet experiences and charismatic cultural excursions in fascinating cities like Rome, Venice and Barcelona.