For decades, Carnival Cruise Lines was the leader. That name might have then gone to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in the early 2000’s. However, now, the world is at a place where it might soon be time to realize two things. First: the American market is not the only market out there. Second: MSC might be the leader of all cruise lines.
Why do I say this? Easy. At the moment, MSC has 10 ships on order, with the MSC Seaside scheduled to come out in just a few months. They also just debuted a brand new ship, the MSC Meraviglia, which is the largest ship the company has ever built at over 170,000 gross tons. The Seaside, actually, and the rest of its class, is the smallest ships that they have scheduled to join their fleet. Even those are still above 150,000 gross tons. The largest, you may be wondering? The World Class of ships aims to be over 200,000 gross tons, rivaling the current largest class of ships – the Oasis Class. And the kicker for all of this, it is all going to be built within the next 10 years (less actually, each ship will be sailing by 2026). Over $5 billion spent, and likely 50,000+ new berths being built.
Royal Caribbean, which I would place at the current leader in the industry, only has six new ships scheduled to be built in that same time frame. Having said that, all of their new ships also are very large, and they also are operated by a parent company which runs other cruise lines. For example, Celebrity Cruise Lines will be debuting a new class of ships this year, and technically that is all a part of Royal Caribbean Ltd. But, for the sake of this blog post, lets just refer to each individual company and not the full organization.
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MSC is not just adding ships, which makes them a major player, but they are also adding a new market. Traditionally, MSC has been a European cruise line, which catered to mostly European passengers. However, few years ago, with the placement of a ship in the Caribbean, they hoped to join the American market. Now, with MSC Seaside, they have a custom built ship for the American market. Additionally, in the next few years, more MSC ships are planned on being added to the Caribbean, meaning a larger potential for US customers. While catering the Americans means some changes on board, passengers will still have a uniquely European experience, with a different quality of food and different styles of entertainment.
On top of all of that, MSC is also creating their own Private Island in the Bahamas. Ocean Cay will allow a bigger incentive for US passengers to travel on an MSC ship, while also making MSC one of the notable names in the industry. Other leaders such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines all have more than one private island in the region. You can learn all about one of NCL’s islands – Great Stirrup Cay – here!
With all of the change occurring and expansion going on within MSC, it sure makes you want to try cruising with them, doesn’t it?