MSC Cruises’ UK boss has reported the last three-month period was the “strongest” quarter for UK and Ireland sales in the line’s history.
UK and Ireland managing director Antonio Paradiso said that halfway through 2022, bookings levels in the UK and Ireland had already reached 85% of sales made in 2019.
“Q2 was the strongest booking period ever for us in the UK, maybe we need to build more ships?,” he said. “The domestic market is booming for us.
“We’ve seen last minute demand which is very strong and we’ve seen some amazing itineraries for MSC Grandiosa next year.
The 6,334-passenger vessel will sail from Southampton, offering 23 departures ranging from mini-cruises to Rotterdam and Bruges as well as longer cruises to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands.
“The market is currently divided in two,” he added. “We’re seeing a large of customers that are booking last minute and those that are booking far ahead.”
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Paradiso added: “Q1 was exactly the same [as 2019] but then Q2 has been phenomenal for us.”
He expects to surpass 2019 booking levels by the end of 2022. “This is because ex-UK sailings have played their part,” he said, adding that the line saw opportunities ahead.
Paradiso predicted that the UK and Ireland would be “one of the first” global markets to surpass 2019 levels for MSC.
“We want to do everything to achieve this,” he added.
Paradiso said he was buoyed by seeing consistently high booking volumes, particularly over the last two months.
“What is encouraging is the booking trends were never consistent, but since the first week of May the booking trends are stronger and importantly more consistent,” he explained.
“We’re doing the right thing at the right time.”
He went on to say that fly-cruise bookings were slowly improving.