Cruising’s traditional wave booking period in 2021 could go beyond February and even last as long as May, MSC Cruises’ UK chief has predicted.
Speaking ahead of the line’s summer 2022 programme going on sale, Antonio Paradiso told TTG he believed “next year there will be no such thing as a normal wave and peaks season”.
“I can see everything blending together and lasting a lot longer than usual – it could be one season that starts in January and ends in May.”
Paradiso said demand during this elongated booking period would perhaps not be as strong as previous years but recent “very encouraging” sales made during MSC’s Black Friday campaign had given him more confidence.
“If you’d asked me two months ago if there will be a wave season, I would have said no, but now I have a different outlook after the success and volume we saw during Black Friday.
“People want something to look forward to and they want to put their savings this year towards a holiday. In January and February they will be asking what’s on offer?”
“I have seen some people saying that 2021 is a right-off but I don’t believe that’s true. There is definitely demand and there are good and bad days, so that’s why wave could be more drawn out.”
He said the “key aspects” for stimulating bookings that MSC had found was flexibility around booking terms and all-inclusive offers.
“Offers doesn’t mean cheap – it just means for the right price. People are willing to book for that right price,” he added.
As part of MSC’s 2022 programme, MSC Magnifica will return to homeport in Southampton for a second full season, following its scheduled ex-UK season next year.
The vessel will offer two to 14-night itineraries to destinations including the Baltic capitals, Fjords and Canary Islands.
Paradiso said the ship was becoming more familiar with UK guests and was a “popular choice” for making a return.
Magnifica will be one of five ships based in Northern Europe, while the line will have 10 ships sailing in the Mediterranean – five in the Western Med and five in the Eastern Med.
In the US, MSC’s newest ship, MSC Seashore, will homeport in Miami and offer two alternative itineraries to the Eastern or Western Caribbean calling at the line’s private island, Ocean Cay.
MSC Divina will homeport in Port Canaveral – the first time MSC has based a ship in the Florida location.
Paradiso said the move had been based on agent feedback due to its proximity to Orlando.
Sales open today (17 December) for the Caribbean and Mediterranean, while Northern Europe itineraries will be bookable in the new year.