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22 Mar 2018

BY Tom Parry

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TRFBLI

MSC could expand UK fare offering but rules out all-inclusive switch

MSC Cruises has ruled out going fully all-inclusive in the UK, but hinted at expanding its cruise fare offering for British guests.

Gianni Onorato MSC Cruises.jpg
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Boss Gianni Onorato distanced the line from following competitors into the fully all-inclusive market

Chief executive Gianni Onorato joined agents and media for the launch of the line’s 2019-20 programme last night in London.

 

Asked by TTG whether MSC Cruises would follow competitor lines in going all-inclusive in the UK, Onorato replied that while he understood the popularity of the fare type for UK passengers, the line would not introduce it on a permanent basis.

 

Earlier this week Marella Cruises announced it will make its entire fleet all-inclusive by next May, while back in January, Norwegian Cruise Line reported an increase in the number of agents selling its product as a result of introducing “premium all-inclusive” for UK guests in April 2017.

 

“For the UK market [all-inclusive] is big and it is quite possible but for all markets it is less so.

 

"For sure in future we may take different amenities which will be added to the cruise fare [UK guests] but I do not think we will move to the [all-inclusive] market.”

 

Antonio Paradiso, managing director UK and Ireland, echoed Onorato adding how he would prefer to use all-inclusive offerings as sporadically to help agents sell the line.

 

“We have a different strategy [for all-inclusive],” he said.

 

“We believe in choice and want to give that to our customers. I don’t want to oblige each single customer onboard our ships to buy a beverage package.

 

“So the answer is no. I would rather use an all-inclusive package during wave season to help the trade.”

 

Also during the evening, MSC revealed it would be christening a ship in the UK for the first time in more than a decade next year with MSC Bellissima set to be named in Southampton on March 2, 2019.

 

Around 3,000 British and Irish agents will be invited to see the ship across a three day celebration and the 5,700-guest vessel will become the largest ever to be christened in the UK.

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