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MSC Cruises Soars to New Heights with Expanded Flight Commitment



MSC Cruises has seen a remarkable rebound post-Covid, not through its ship operations but by sky-high achievements in its flight services. Steve Williams, UK and Ireland sales director, highlights a whopping 500% increase in the line’s scheduled flight commitment, propelling growth especially in regional areas. Initially hesitant post-pandemic, MSC now partners with renowned carriers like Virgin Atlantic, exemplified by a full charter programme from Heathrow to Barbados, starting November 26, 2024.

The winter Caribbean sailings aboard MSC Virtuosa from Southampton have seen robust demand, underpinned by the ship’s iconic status in UK cruising history. MSC’s strategic alliance with Virgin Atlantic assures passengers a seamless transition from premium flight experiences to the exclusive realm of MSC Yacht Club onboard. The line’s diversified air program also includes partnerships with Emirates from multiple UK airports to Dubai and from various UK hubs to Tenerife.

With a newfound stability in the market, MSC’s move towards a broader air programme signifies the line’s confidence in the rebound. Williams emphasizes the importance of matching the flight quality with the cruise experience, aligning every aspect to offer guests an unparalleled travel experience. Plans are underway to expand the air programme further to include more UK airports, enhancing accessibility and convenience for travelers.

As the cruise sector emerges from the pandemic, MSC, at the forefront of revival, navigates the transition from heavily discounted sailings to a normalized booking curve. Offering a 2026 summer season alongside the already available 2025 and 2023 itineraries, MSC aims to shift away from a late booking pattern to foster a more sustained booking culture. The strategic pricing strategies ensure competitiveness and value for guests across all offerings.

In tandem with its post-pandemic resurgence, MSC is extending opportunities for agents to explore its ships with increased ship visit places across the UK. By optimizing training efforts and enhancing agent engagement through the MSC Masters platform, the line aims to elevate brand recognition and preference among travel advisors. With Virtuosa poised to commence its fourth UK summer season, MSC’s efforts are evidently paying off as the UK prepares for an exciting summer cruise season ahead.

Rachel Adams

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