MSC Cruises – the fast growth of the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line

05:00:28 - March 10, 2022


Stay updated with our breaking news and insightful viewpoint on tourism business, management and development.

    By submitting this form you agree to receive email communication from Destination Review


    The history of the MSC dates back to more than 300 years when the Aponte family had their involvement in maritime transport from the Sorrento peninsula (Italy) in the 17th century. The Aponte family’s first records of maritime transport were in 1675, plied the route between Naples and Castellamare, and operated for many years.

    In 1970, Italian sailor Gianluigi Aponte bought the first cargo ship and founded the Mediterranean Shipping Company. Two years later, he bought two more ships. These three cargo ships are the starting point to help MSC gradually develop into the world’s leading container shipping company with more than 560 vessels.

    The year 1988 marked an important milestone when MSC officially expanded its business to the cruise market, starting with the purchase of the ship Monterey. A year later, MSC took over the structures of Lauro Cruise Line with the Achille Lauro and the newly formed company named StarLauro in honor of the line’s founder and Gianluigi Aponte mentor, Mr. Lauro.

    Six years later, StarLauro Cruises changed its name to MSC Cruises and became a subsidiary of MSC Group. The carrier added to its fleet the ships MSC Rhapsody in 1995 and Melody in 1997, bringing the capacity of MSC Cruises to a total of four ships.


    In 2003, Pierfrancesco Vago joined the cruise line as CEO and started a massive 5.5 billion EUR investment program that put MSC Cruises on a fast growth path. For the first time, the line has commissioned a series of its own newly built ships. In just over a decade, the company has built 4 ships of the Lirica class, another 4 of the magnificent ships of the Musica class and 4 of the flagship ships of the Fantasia class that help the cruise line firmly compete with other major companies such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

    In the following years, the company continuously had strong investment plans to consolidate and increase the number of ships. In 2014, the airline invested 5.1 billion EUR to order seven new ships and to expand four existing ships. In 2016, the investment plan for phase 2 increased from 5.1 billion EUR to 9 billion EUR to build 4 World class ships. The cruise line then consolidated its fleet expansion plan with an order for two more Seaside ships and a fifth Meraviglia, bringing the total investment capital for the 2014-2026 period to 11.6 billion EUR.

    MSC Cruises is the first global cruise brand to develop an investment plan of such scale, spanning more than ten years, from 2014 to 2026.

    The fleet of MSC Cruises is expected to reach 25 ships by 2025.

    The fleet

    MSC World Europa is the first LNG-powered ship in the MSC Cruises fleet and the most environmentally advanced ship to date. The ship will be delivered in December 2022.

    MSC Virtuosa is one of the most environmentally advanced ships in the fleet of MSC Cruises with a capacity of 6,334 passengers.

    Meraviglia Plus class: includes 3 ships MSC Grandiosa, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Bellissima and MSC Euribia ship powered by lLNG, expected to be launched in 2023.

    MSC Seaside, MSC Seaview with a capacity of more than 5000 passengers and MSC Seashore, MSC Seascape with a capacity of 5,632 passengers.

    Fantasia class: MSC Preziosa, MSC Divina, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, are large and modern ships with a capacity of more than 4300 passengers.

    Musica class: MSC Magnifica, MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra and MSC Musica, each with a capacity of about 3000 passengers.

    Lirica class: MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica, each with a capacity of about 2000 passengers.

    MSC Cruises – the fast growth of the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line


    The requirement was accepted, please check your email for the document.