MSC Cruises has unveiled the new Chinese services it plans to launch in 2016.
In a joint press conference with its Chinese partner, Caissa Touristic Group, MSC revealed details of the onboard amenities and services Chinese passengers can expect when the MSC Lirica cruise ship starts operating from Shanghai next May.
These will include authentic local cuisine prepared in partnership with famous Chinese chef Jereme Leung, and a 20-hour-a-day entertainment programme including live music, dance and magic performances, children’s activities and karaoke nights. The ship will also feature a large casino with private baccarat and sic bo rooms.
MSC will also employ a series of ‘Cruise Ambassadors’ who will speak Mandarin and provide round-the-clock assistance to passengers. Staff will be recruited and trained through Chinese schools of excellence, while managers will also undergo training aboard other MSC ships.
“What makes this partnership stand out, from other traditional agreements between China-based tour agencies and cruise lines, is the emphasis that will be placed on training the entire on-board staff to ensure guests receive the best-in-class MSC Cruises’ experience and service. This also includes the degree of adaptation of the ship’s hardware and software, such as facilities renovation, service design and operation, and more, to fit the customs and tastes of the Chinese guests it is designed to serve,” said Chen Xiaobing, Caissa Touristic’s president.
MSC Cruises’ CEO, Gianni Onorato, added: “MSC Lirica is the perfect size to enable guests to get the very most out of this customisation, which means she brings to the market a cruise product, specifically designed to meet the needs of the Chinese consumer, that is truly like no other.”
The 2016 Shanghai season will mark MSC Cruises’ entry into the Chinese market.