MSC Cruises

Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

MSC Cruises (Italian: MSC Crociere S.p.A.) is a division of Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC). MSC is an Italian shipping company devoted to the cruise market with headquarters in Geneva. The company, whose capital is wholly Swiss, employs 15,500 people worldwide and has offices in 45 countries. Originally founded as Lauro Lines by Achille Lauro, the company entered the cruise business in the 1960s, operating two ships, the Angelina Lauro and , both of which met fiery ends. After the Angelina Lauro burnt in the port of St.Thomas in 1979, Lauro Lines, also known as Flotta Lauro, met with bad times, now operating just one ship, the Achille Lauro. In 1985, the Achille Lauro was hijacked by members of the Palestine Liberation Front, and the much-publicised event further dropped passenger numbers. In 1989, Flotta Lauro was purchased by Mediterranean Shipping Company and renamed StarLauro Cruises. In 1994, the Achille Lauro caught fire and sank. In 1995, the company name was changed to MSC Cruises. MSC Cruises claims to be the third largest cruise operator in the world, after Carnival Corporation & plc and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. with a 6% share of all passengers carried and cruise revenue in 2012. Yet, because MSC Cruises has no stakes exchanged on the market, it has no obligations to issue its budget certified by independent parties, which therefore it does not; as a consequence the data MSC Cruises releases about itself are not verifiable. On March 1, 2010, after strong support from French government, STX Europe and MSC Cruises announced signing a new Letter of Intent to build one, 139,000 ton, 3502 passenger, Fantasia-class ship, which is subject to financing, at STX Europe St-Nazaire. In 2014 MSC Cruises announced that the four Lirica class ships will undergo renovation under the “Renaissance Program”. New features will include a spray park, refurbished shops, new child and teen areas, an enhanced buffet, a new lounge,and an extended restaurant. The work is scheduled to be completed by November 2015.