MSC Cruises held a major event on board MSC Musica in the port of Piraeus for nearly 200 members of the Greek travel industry to celebrate the ship’s summer 2023 sailing season in the East Mediterranean.
This is the second time that MSC Cruises has based one of its ships in Greece to allow its guests to embark in Piraeus and the first time that MSC Musica has homeported in the country.
The ship will operate 26 seven-night voyages between May and October from Piraeus to visit the island of Santorini; Kusadasi, Turkey; Haifa, Israel; Limassol, Cyprus and a second Greek island Mykonos before returning to the port that serves Athens.
Angelo Capurro, Sales Executive Director – New Emerging Markets, MSC Cruises, said “When we first based a ship last year in Piraeus – MSC Lirica – we said that for the 2023 summer season we would increase our capacity to cater for the growth in demand from Greek holidaymakers, as well as international guests. MSC Musica fulfills that objective and we’re very confident of a successful sailing season and welcoming many repeat holidaymakers onboard as well as those that are new to cruise.
“The seven-night itinerary is very appealing for both the domestic market who can embark from their local port and for those travelling from overseas to join the ship. They can all look forward to an enthralling and cosmopolitan ambience, fine dining restaurants, world-class entertainment, relaxing bars and lounges, boutique shopping, a relaxing spa and clubs for toddlers to teenagers.
“There is, quite simply, something for everyone to enjoy.”
MSC Cruises’ ‘Stay & Cruise’ packages launched in 2022 will be available from July to include a two night ‘Athens Experience’ in a four-star hotel in the capital city with airport transfers and those to the port of Piraeus ahead of a seven-night cruise for guests flying from abroad to join the ship.
The East Mediterranean Sea will play an important role in MSC Cruises’ summer 2023 sailing programme with a record seven of its vessels deployed in the region with the main focus on Greece and its islands.
MSC Sinfonia will visit Piraeus 20 times during the summer months with voyages between Greece, Croatia and Italy and five other ships in the line’s fleet – MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica, MSC Splendida, MSC Opera and MSC Divina – will call at the Greek islands of Crete, Rhodes, Kefalonia, Mykonos, Santorini, Corfu and Zakynthos throughout the season. MSC Poesia in the Autumn will also visit Piraeus.
Greece was recently highlighted by MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago when he gave a keynote speech at a conference in Thessaloniki in his capacity as the Global Chair of the Cruise Line International Association, the world’s largest cruise industry trade body.
Mr Vago revealed that the beneficial economic impact that cruise tourism brought to Greece surpassed Euros €1 billion and generated more than 15,000 jobs in the country, and he explained that homeporting a ship brought the strongest economic benefits for a destination.
Mr Vago said, “In Greece today, the economic benefits from the tourists that come to these shores on cruise ships are already higher than in 2019. This is in part thanks to the great work by local authorities to increase homeporting operations in Greece.
“Homeporting brings the strongest economic benefits for any destination. It increases the time that tourists spend ashore both before and after the cruise, including demand for accommodation. There are also the benefits of expenditures by passengers during their stay, including for services, food, entertainment, and shopping.
“Every cruise tourist at the port of embarkation typically spends more than € Euro 400, while the amount at the ports visited along the ship’s itinerary is estimated to be at least Euro €100 a passenger. Supplying, maintaining, and refuelling our ships also adds more jobs at homeports.”
Mr Vago added during his speech that six out of 10 cruise travellers subsequently return for longer stays to the destinations they visited during their voyage which generates opportunities for local businesses to develop and market their products and services to new, wider audiences.
He concluded, “Greece now has an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen its position as a cruise hub in the region.”