POINTE BLANCHE--Port St. Maarten is preparing for MSC Cruises next-generation ships as it did for the Genesis Class vessels of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines back in 2009, said Port Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo.
The Port plans to discuss a strategic agreement with MSC Cruises and preparing for the 2020 launch of the next-generation ships. “During our discussions with MSC cruise executives, we discussed current state of affairs, enhancing shore excursions where they offer multi-lingual guides and Port St. Maarten being prepared for MSCs larger vessels,” said Mingo in a press statement issued Sunday.
His announcement follows MSC Cruises reveal of the name of its second STX France built Meraviglia-generation, ultramodern mega cruise ship, MSC Bellissima, on September 2. This ship will come into service in the spring 2019. On that same day, MSC Cruises celebrated the float out of the lines first next-generation ultramodern mega-ship, MSC Meraviglia, due to come into service in June 2017.
MSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line based in Switzerland. It is the market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa.
“Destination St. Maarten must be ready for MSCs new class vessel. This cruise line is a major player being the third largest in the world and also number one cargo container line in the world,” Mingo said.
MSC Cruises has embarked upon a new global brand positioning, which supports the company’s upcoming global growth plan comprising of an investment plan of billions of euros that will double capacity for the company’s fleet and bring next-generation ships into service between 2017 and 2026.
“MSC Cruises is a highly ambitious company that will double in size over the next six years. We at Port St. Maarten are making sure to be ready for this development as it unravels,” said Mingo.
Port St. Maarten expects to cater to 1.7 million cruise passengers in 2016 and 1.85 million in 2017. The forecast numbers for 2018 look even better. Most of the lost calls from Norwegian Cruise Lines and Disney are being picked up by other cruise lines such as MSC Cruises.