MSC Cruises is to partner with ABP Southampton on a new fifth cruise terminal at the port.
The new terminal will be ready for the 2021 cruise season and will be home to MSC Magnifica for her second ex-UK season.
MSC confirmed that it will continue to homeport at least one ship throughout the partnership with Southampton, while it also expects other ships within it 17 strong fleet to make calls at the new terminal.
The new terminal, which has received support from the Solent LEP and the Government’s ‘Getting Building’ fund, will have Shore Power connectivity – meaning that ships can plug-in to shore-side power, reducing emissions.
Antonio Paradiso, managing director MSC Cruises UK & Ireland said: “Whilst we’ve always had loyal passengers from the UK & Ireland, over the last five years we’ve been on a real journey in the UK market. We were delighted to see such strong organic growth which led to our first ever full season sailing from the UK in 2018, followed by the naming ceremony of MSC Bellissima in the port of Southampton bringing guests from around the world to the city to celebrate the milestone event in 2019. We ended 2019 with the most successful year of sales ever in the UK & Ireland, something we are incredibly proud of.
“MSC Cruises is serious about the UK market and now more than ever we believe in the potential here and making this long term commitment to bringing even more passengers to Southampton is evidence of that. In 2017 we invested in a new office in the UK, we then focused on growing our teams and putting the right expertise in place to ensure we can provide the best possible support to our passengers and our travel agent partners, and now we are really proud to be further investing in the UK cruise industry at this incredibly important time for both the industry and the UK economy in having a home for our ships here in the UK.”
Of the 21 available sailings the cruise line has further enhanced the itineraries available from Southampton with two 14 night sailings to the Mediterranean departing in July and August calling at ports including Malaga, Lisbon and Monte Carlo, weekend mini sailings to Northern Europe and seven night cruises to the Norwegian Fjords.
Paradiso, added: “We have seen good demand for our ex-UK sailings for 2021 despite the difficult circumstances and are sure this demand will continue into 2021 as we see more travel corridors open up and guests start to feel more confident in booking holidays. MSC Magnifica EX-UK 2021 presents a great opportunity for travel agents looking for new and different ex-UK itineraries for the guests. With port intensive itineraries , Saturday departures and the onboard experience offering the Best of British enhancements that were so popular during the 2018 season there are many reasons MSC Magnifica provides a great sales opportunity for our travel partners.”
To find out more information about sailing from the UK with MSC Cruises visit msccruises.co.uk or speak to your travel agent.