MSC Cruises has pledged to bring “newer and larger ships” to the UK after partnering with Southampton on the building of a fifth cruise terminal.
The new terminal – opening ready for the 2021 season – will act as homeport for MSC Magnifica during the ship’s second ex-UK season from May next year.
MSC’s UK and Ireland managing director Antonio Paradiso said the line “felt the time was right” to make a “sustainable commitment” to the British cruise sector after growth over the last three years.
“We are committing to having a least one ship based in the UK for many years to come,” he told TTG. Asked how long that period could be, he said: “We’re talking about decades – it’s a long-term commitment”.
“By having our own home it means we have more flexibility of slots and allows us to have even more ships visiting the UK.
“It’s a long-term partnership and there’s a commitment from MSC to the cruise industry and the economy in the UK – we’re serious and we want to continue to grow in the UK and this new terminal is a testament to that.”
The terminal - which features roof-mounted solar power and shore power connectivity capabilities – would allow MSC to bring its newer, greener ships and more technologically advanced vessels to UK waters.
“This a next-generation terminal so it will allow us to host next-generation ships,” said Paradiso.