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A European cruise line with cheap fares is making a big splash in the US — take a closer look at MSC Cruises

A European cruise line with cheap fares is making a big splash in the US — take a closer look at MSC Cruises
A MSC cruise ship in New York City sailing by the Statue of Liberty.
A MSC cruise ship in New York City.MSC Cruises
  • MSC Cruises, one of the fastest-growing cruise lines, is eyeing the US in its big expansion plan.

  • The MSC Group cruise brand offers some of the cheapest fares across the industry.

  • This year, it'll have five ships homeported in New York City and Florida's PortMiami and Port Canaveral.

An European cruise giant with an unconventional parent company is making a big splash in the US.

msc cruises ship
An MSC Cruises ship.Mike Louagie/Invision for MSC Cruises/AP

And soon, the brand — MSC Cruises — could become as much a household name as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian.

Water park on MSC Cruises
Water park on MSC CruisesMSC

Brands like Celebrity and Princess Cruises are owned by larger parent cruise organizations.

Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Equinox
Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Equinox ship.Celebrity Cruises

But MSC is a bit different: Its storied parent company MSC Group is one of the world's largest shipping companies.

MSC Musica
MSC Cruises

So of course its eponymous cruise line is also one of the world's biggest cruise lines.

MSC Cruise
Major cruise lines such as MSC Cruises have already begun sailings in Europe.James McEntee/AP

Source: MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises, headquartered in Switzerland, calls itself the "fastest growing" cruise line.

Inside a MSC cruise vessel.
MSC Cruises

The brand currently operates 19 vessels. By 2025, it wants to expand to 23 ships with the option for another six orders through 2030.

Inside a MSC cruise vessel.
MSC Cruises

Source: MSC Cruises

It's undoubtedly a large company. Yet if you're not well acquainted with the brand, you're not alone.

A MSC cruise ship sailing at sea
MSC Cruises

The cruise giant is best known for its stronghold in the European market.

A MSC cruise ship at sea
MSC Cruises

But this could soon change as MSC continues to explore its mass expansion in the US.

A MSC cruise ship in  US waters
MSC Cruises

"Our success here in the US is important to our continued growth," a spokesperson told Insider.

A MSC cruise ship sailing at sea
MSC Cruises

Since 2017, MSC has launched three new ships built just for the North American market: the MSC Seaside, Seashore, and Seascape.

A MSC cruise ship at sea
MSC Cruises

A fourth, the MSC World America, is coming in 2025.

A MSC cruise ship sailing at sea
MSC Cruises

In 2019, it also opened its own private island in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, as a destination for its Caribbean itineraries.

A MSC cruise ship at sea
MSC Cruises

Fast forward to this year, MSC now has five vessels homeported in the three US destinations: New York City and Florida's PortMiami and Port Canaveral.

A MSC cruise ship in  US waters
MSC Cruises

These itineraries will sail to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, New England, and Canada throughout the year.

A private island with kayaks
MSC Cruises

And when its upcoming PortMiami terminal is complete at the end of 2023, the $450 million project will be the largest cruise terminal in North America with the ability to service up to 36,000 passengers daily.

Inside a MSC cruise vessel.
MSC Cruises

Source: MSC Cruises

Along with the new terminal and additional sailings from the US, MSC plans to enter the Galveston, Texas market in the future.

Inside a MSC cruise vessel.
MSC Cruises

If you have heard of MSC Cruises, there's a good chance it'll be because you were looking up affordable itineraries.

Inside a MSC cruise vessel.
MSC Cruises

Some of the cheapest cruises sailing from now through November 2025 will be operated by the European cruise giant, according to data from Cruise Sheet.

A MSC cruise ship at sea
MSC Cruises

Source: Cruise Sheet, Insider

This includes seven to 10-night $38 per day European itineraries as well as a whopping 22-night $48 per day transatlantic sailing.

A MSC cruise ship at sea
MSC Cruises

Source: Cruise Sheet

Stateside, MSC also has several itineraries sailing from its three US homeports for under $60 a day.

Inside a MSC cruise vessel.
MSC Cruises

However, the brand stops short of calling itself a budget cruise line.

A MSC cruise ship sailing at sea
MSC Cruises

While it does offer some of the lowest cost-per-day vacations of most other cruise lines, MSC believes its fares "don't fall into a single category," the spokesperson said.

A MSC cruise ship in  US waters
MSC Cruises

Cruises in its ship's suites can run travelers close to $400 a day, according to Cruise Sheet.

Inside a MSC cruise vessel.
MSC Cruises

Source: Cruise Sheet

And for those seeking out a more luxurious trip, the brand also offers MSC Yacht Club, a premium suites segment with exclusive spaces and amenities …

Inside a MSC cruise vessel.
MSC Cruises

… similar to Norwegian Cruise Line's Haven (shown below) and Royal Caribbean's Suite neighborhood.

Norwegian Cruise Line the Haven
Norwegian Cruise Line

Between the company's US and European cruises, most of the services and amenities are the same.

Inside a MSC cruise vessel.
MSC Cruises

However, there are some differences between the menus and the "onboard style" of services and programs.

A MSC cruise ship at sunset
MSC Cruises

And one of its built-for-North America ships, the Seascape, was designed specifically for warm weathered vacations destinations like the Caribbeans, which has resulted in more outdoor spaces.

The MSC Seascape's outdoor lounge
MSC Cruises

The Seascape also has an amusement park-like ride, shown below, to entice children with fond memories of summer carnival rides.

Robotron, MSC Cruise
Robotron, MSC CruiseMSC Cruises

"The US is the biggest cruise market in the world and it is important that we play a big role here," the spokesperson said.

A MSC cruise ship sailing at sea
MSC Cruises

Read the original article on Business Insider