Any time a country or region imposes any sort of visa stipulation - even if it’s a waiver - the travel industry sighs a collective groan, knowing the obstacles and headaches to come.
FORT LAUDERDALE — MSC Academy’s graduating class is now 10,000 strong, a major milestone that MSC Cruises is commemorating with free cruises for travel agents.
According to MSC Cruises USA, the North American arm of MSC Cruises, the company’s education platform has just surpassed 10,000 graduates, all of whom have completed multiple courses, quizzes and checkpoints that detail MSC’s history, fleet and onboard experiences.
“We are so pleased that MSC Academy has been so successful in providing advisors not only a key tool for education on our brand, product and growth, but also an opportunity to learn how to effectively sell MSC Cruises to their clients,” said Ken Muskat, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, MSC Cruises USA. “As we continue rapid growth both globally and in North America, our partners have a unique opportunity to grow their business with us and increase their earning potential.”
In recognition of their efforts, MSC Cruises is rewarding graduates by giving away five sailings onboard the Nov. 21 three-night sailing of MSC Meraviglia, which arrives in North America this October. The giveaway is eligible to all MSC Academy graduates in Canada and the U.S. who completed the program rom March 28, 2017 to May 31, 2019, meaning there’s still time to qualify.
Winners will be selected and announced on June 7 at www.msccruisesagent.com/mscacademygraduates.
MSC Academy is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.mscacademy.com. Upon logging in, travel advisors are guided through a specially curated program discussing MSC Cruises’ fleet, brand history, sailing destinations, the MSC Voyagers Club, onboard experiences, and more. With the help of informative videos, voiceovers, an audio pronunciation guide and various activities, advisors learn key information while staying current on any brand updates.
Participants can also utilize a central dashboard to review their course activity, track the status of their progress and access rewards, including gift cards, bonus commissions, fam trips and monthly giveaways. Another key benefit of the program is a shared learning space for agents to exchange knowledge and expertise with others in the industry.
MSC Cruises is in the midst of a major expansion plan worth US$15.6 billion that includes a total of 17 new next-generation smart ships coming into service between 2017 and 2027, four of which have already been launched. By the end of 2019, the company will have introduced two ships – MSC Bellissima in March, and MSC Grandiosa, coming into service this November.
In addition, MSC Cruises will introduce its Caribbean private island destination this year, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.
North America in particular will continue to benefit with four ships serving the region by the end of 2019 — MSC Seaside, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Divina and MSC Armonia. MSC Meraviglia, the first of the Meraviglia class launched in June 2017, will head to North America for the first time ever in October 2019. Upon arriving in Manhattan, it will sail three sailings from New York; the first two will visit Canada and New England, and the third will journey through the Caribbean and end in Miami, where it will home port.
Earlier this month MSC Cruises opened its new office in Mississuaga with 15 team members, making the cruise line the first ever to launch an office on Canadian soil. Roberto Fusaro, MSC’s North America president, told Travelweek that the new office is a “testament” to the company’s commitment to the Canadian market.
“We have big ambitions for Canada and we’ve set significant targets for Canada this year,” he said. “MSC has 19 offices around the world, which is how we sell to our markets. We want to get closer to our markets and understand what each needs in order to adapt our commercial and product offering. That’s why we’re making this investment in Canada.”
Fusaro added that the company has seen significant growth in Canada, particularly in 2018.