MSC Cruises welcomed 200 members of the Greek travel industry to cruise MSC Musica, in Piraeus, celebrating the start of the ship’s Eastern Mediterranean itineraries in the summer of 2023.
It is the second time that MSC Cruises has chosen Greece, and in particular Piraeus, as the base port for travelers to board its ship, and the first time that MSC Musica is based in Greece.
The ship will make 26 seven-night voyages between May and October from Piraeus to visit Santorini, Kusadasi in Turkey, Haifa in Israel, Limassol in Cyprus and a second Greek island, Mykonos, before returning to its port of call in Athens.
Angelo Capurro, Executive Director of MSC Cruises for New Emerging Markets, said: “When we made Piraeus a base last year for one of our ships, MSC Lirica, we said that by the summer season of 2023 we would increase our capacity to meet the increase in demand from both Greek travelers and international visitors. MSC Musica meets this goal and we are very confident that we will have a successful cruise season and welcome many travelers who love cruising as well as many discovering it for the first time.”
“The seven-night itinerary is very attractive both for the domestic market, which can be served from the local port, and for foreign travelers who will board the ship here. Everyone can expect an exciting, cosmopolitan atmosphere, great restaurants, top-notch entertainment, relaxing bars and lounges, boutique shopping, a relaxing spa, and kids’ clubs for everyone from toddlers to teens,” he added, concluding: “There are, quite simply, something for everyone to enjoy.”
Launching in 2022, MSC Cruises’ ‘Stay & Cruise’ packages will be available from July and will include the ‘Athens Experience’, with two nights in a four-star hotel in the capital and transfers from the airport to the port of Piraeus for guests flying in from abroad to board the ship for a seven-night cruise.
The Eastern Mediterranean will play a major role in MSC Cruises’ summer 2023 itinerary, with a record seven cruises set to deploy to the region, with a primary focus on Greece and its islands.
MSC Sinfonia will visit Piraeus 20 times during the summer months, sailing between Greece, Croatia and Italy, while five other ships in the company’s fleet (MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica, MSC Splendida, MSC Opera and MSC Divina) will visit the Greek islands of Crete, Rhodes, Kefalonia, Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu and Zakynthos throughout the season. Finally, MSC Poesia will visit Piraeus in the autumn.
The importance of Greece was recently highlighted by MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago in his keynote address at a conference in Thessaloniki in his capacity as president of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry union largest cruise ship in the world.
Mr. Vago revealed that the positive economic impact of cruise tourism in Greece exceeded €1 billion and created more than 15,000 jobs in the country, while explaining that the biggest economic benefits for destinations come from the home port. .
“Today in Greece, the economic benefits of tourists arriving on the country’s shores on cruise ships are already higher than in 2019. This is partly due to the great work of local authorities to increase home port activity in Greece” said Mr. Vago.
“Homeporting brings the most significant economic benefits to any destination. The time tourists spend on land, both before and after the cruise, is increasing, as is the demand for accommodation. There are also the benefits of passenger spending during their stay, including services, dining, entertainment and shopping,” she added.
“Each cruise tourist normally spends more than €400 at the port of embarkation, while the amount in ports visited during the ship’s itinerary is estimated to be at least €100 per passenger. The acquisition, maintenance and refueling of our ships also adds more jobs to home ports,” she added.
During his speech, Mr. Vago added that 6 out of 10 cruise travelers later return for longer stays in the destinations visited during their trip, which creates opportunities for local businesses to develop and promote products and their services to an audience new and broader.
And Mr. Vago concluded: “Greece now has an excellent opportunity to strengthen its position as a cruise hub in the region.”