The MSC Cruises USA President, Peter Hudson, talks about how the cruise line is positioning itself in the New York market. They want to be seen as a luxury option and not just for price-conscious customers. The company will use its new position to capitalize on opportunities with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio who has been instrumental in driving traffic back into the city’s port terminal area which could give them an edge over rivals like Holland America Line (HAL).
The “msc cruises usa leadership team” is the President of MSC Cruises USA. The company has been in operation since 2006 and currently operates from New York City.
MSC Cruises announced earlier this month that the 4,500-passenger MSC Meraviglia would be homeported at New York’s Brooklyn Cruise Terminal starting in April 2023 for year-round voyages to the Caribbean, Bermuda, New England, and Canada.
The cruises will also provide passengers access to MSC’s own Bahamian island and marine reserve, Ocean Cay. Despite the fact that more cruise ships are sailing from New York, a year-round deployment for a modern cruise line is an uncommon move.
Meraviglia’s homeporting in Brooklyn is, in reality, the company’s first yr around deployment in the northeastern United States. We talked with Reuben Rodriguez, president of MSC Cruises USA, about the significance of the ship’s location in New York.
“Part of what we need to do to grow our brand in the United States is to be in New York.” Reuben Rodriguez (Reuben Rodriguez) (Photo by Brian Major)
TP: Why does Meraviglia spend the whole year in Brooklyn, New York?
RR: New York has always been a significant sourcing market for us. MSC chose priority countries for aggressive marketing last year because we need to raise awareness for our brand, which is not as well recognized in the United States as it is in the European Union. New York was included in our testing, and it proved to be highly beneficial.
TP: How did you assess the efficacy?
RR: We do regular polls to see how well-informed people are about our brand and how likely they are to sail with us, among other things. We previously knew our brand had lesser recognition in the United States than other brands, but as a consequence of our marketing, we witnessed a huge rise in New York especially. We witnessed a significant increase in website traffic and reservations from New Yorkers and the surrounding Tri-State region.
TP: What else did MSC discover about cruise passengers in New York?
RR: We saw an increase in not just awareness, traffic, and reservations from New Yorkers, but they were also really nice bookings. New Yorkers prefer to plan longer cruises and book them farther in advance, since everyone is booking close to the end of the year. However, New Yorkers plan a bit farther in advance than the typical cruiser, and they go worldwide more often.
TP: What are the most popular itineraries among New Yorkers?
RR: Not only are they booking Caribbean cruises, but they’re also booking Mediterranean and northern European vacations at a higher rate than our Florida travelers. [New Yorkers] are more likely to purchase higher-end cabins, such as suites and Yacht Club lodgings. We’re leaning in and doing a lot more marketing in New York since New Yorkers are such a terrific target population for us.
Beginning in 2023, the MSC Meraviglia will cruise from Brooklyn to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Canada, and New England.
TP: Are there any other reasons why MSC has to have a ship in the New York area all year?
RR: In order for a modern cruise line to be successful in the United States, it must have a larger number of homeports. We looked at the statistics after adding Port Canaveral [in Orlando, Fla.] last year and decided that New York may be next. As a result, we’re ecstatic with the reception we’ve received. Of course, it wasn’t simply putting any ship there that drove it. Meraviglia is a brand-new ship that we began sailing from Miami last summer and are presently utilizing at Port Canaveral.
As a result, it’s had exposure to both markets. It’s a beautiful ship with very high levels of passenger satisfaction. It’s also a ship that’s ideal for a year-round deployment in New York, where the first few days of winter are very cold. The ship features a large amount of outside space as well as a large amount of excellent internal space. We chose a ship that our visitors like, one that is huge and contemporary, with all of the facilities and features both inside and out.
TP: Why is it critical for the brand to make a good first impression in the city?
It’s New York, RR. You want to put your best foot forward, but you also don’t want to fall flat on your face. I’ve been to New York previously and know what I’m talking about. Being in New York is an important aspect of our strategy for establishing our brand in the United States.
TP: Are there any benefits to mooring Meraviglia at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal rather than the busier Manhattan Cruise Terminal?
RR: We chose Brooklyn because it’s logistically and accessibly simpler for people to park and get about. Brooklyn is more convenient logistically for boarding and disembarkation of a ship with 4,500 passengers. We’ll always use Manhattan for other situations, but Brooklyn makes sense for the weekly turnaround of a large ship. Brooklyn is also a fantastic destination.
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TP: What influence will MSC’s Brooklyn deployment have on the company’s usual passenger base?
RR: Coming to New York allows us to reach out to customers all throughout the Northeast. They can easily get to the harbor via rail or vehicle. All of our European customers who like Caribbean cruises may also visit Brooklyn. They provide direct flights to New York from a variety of places.
As the market leader in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom, we have a large number of European visitors. Guests who add a few days in New York City before or after their trip will find it quite appealing. As a result, we have a wide range of [itinerary] alternatives.
TP: What kind of customer does MSC Cruises cater to?
RR: We’re going for a group of people we term “open-minded adventurers.” They are part of the mass market, so they aren’t super-rich, but they are upper-middle-class individuals who like traveling and immersing themselves in other cultures. They like traveling overseas and immersing oneself in different cultures. They have a higher level of sophistication, which means they read more, explore more, and are attracted to new cultures.
TP: Is there a sufficient number of such passengers to secure the cruise line’s success in the United States?
RR: There are a lot of people like that in the United States, and there are definitely more than the average in New York. Our brand has a strong European background, which is reflected in many aspects of the onboard experience, from the ship design to the entertainment. We are a European brand, proud of it, and we are based in Europe. It’s not uncommon for 30 to 40 percent of our passengers onboard our Miami-based cruise ships to be from outside the United States.
TP: Do you also promote MSC Cruises’ European offerings?
Yes, RR. It’s a distinct experience having that international character onboard – not just foreign personnel, which everyone has – but international visitors. We still converse in English onboard the ships and ensure that the experience is enjoyable for Americans in general, but we want to attract Americans who are looking for a holiday where they may meet people from all over the globe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are MSC Cruises currently operating?
A: I am sorry, the answer to your question is located somewhere on the website.
Are MSC Cruises sailing in USA?
A: No, MSC Cruises are not sailing in the United States. They are only voyaging within Europe and Asia due to low demand for cruises on the West Coast of America.
Does MSC sail out of New York?
A: No, MSC does not sail out of New York.
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