Friday, 11 March 2022, 14:03
The CEO of MSC Cruceros is considering using Malaga as an alternative port for the company’s cruises, some of which are having to be rescheduled because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Two of their cruises are already booked to visit Malaga this year, one in the summer and the other in autumn, and Fernando Pacheco says a decision about whether to add more will be made during the next week.
MSC has already cancelled its operations in St Petersburg, which was a key destination for the company. “The new scenario means we have to change our itineraries in northern Europe, and some of the ships may come to Spanish ports instead,” he says. “Sales of cruises departing from Spain have not been affected by the situation in Ukraine. On the contrary, on some days the number of bookings is higher than before”.
Pacheco can’t hide his concern about this new uncertainty just as the market was recovering from the pandemic, but says MSC doesn’t want to increase prices unless necessary because it aims to be a market leader in Spain and Europe. “This is a family firm, it isn’t listed on the stock exchange, and we are doing well because the maritime transport sector is at a peak at present. We want to provide passengers with a unique experience, and to do that we need high occupancy, so for the moment we are not planning to raise our prices,” he says. However, he warns, “right now it isn’t easy to know how the world situation is going to develop in the next few months”.
MSC is already working with Malaga port to maintain or increase its operations in 2023. “In 2019 our ships stopped over in Malaga 19 times, and this year we have 29 booked. Next year there could be more,” says Pacheco.
The easing of the Covid restrictions will also help, because from 1 April passengers will be able to go on excursions again.
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