MSC Cruises Announces First Annual “True Partnerships” Awards

Top travel partners to be honored during MSC Divina’s exclusive North American debut


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (July 18, 2013) – MSC Cruises today announced its new annual True Partnerships Awards, honoring its top performing North American travel partners for their loyalty and contributions to the line’s overall success.

MSC’s first True Partnerships Awards will recognize recipients in the following categories:  Home-based Account of the Year; Online Account of the Year; Tour Operator of the Year; Brand Ambassador of the Year and Overall Partner of the Year.  Key considerations include overall business growth in revenue and guests, continuous partnership support and innovative marketing efforts driving increased consumer awareness, among other important attributes.

The awards will be presented this fall by Richard Sasso, President & CEO of MSC Cruises, USA, during a much anticipated 3-night event to celebrate the North American debut of MSC Divina as she sails on her maiden voyage from PortMiami on November 20th.

“Our MSC True Partnerships program continues to build stronger and more meaningful relationships with the travel agent community,” said Ken Muskat, Sr. Vice President, Sales & Marketing. “Whether providing unique promotions, booking tools and customizable communications, featuring our new travel agent dedicated Facebook page or recognizing our most outstanding partners, MSC True Partnerships represents our ongoing commitment to the trade. They are truly the backbone to the success of our brand’s growth and awareness in North America.”

Criteria for the 2013 MSC True Partnerships awards will take into account travel partner business from January thru November 1st, 2013.

“We are sincerely thankful to our outstanding travel partners for their continued support,” adds Muskat.  “We are a line that has always heavily relied on our travel partners to communicate our unique brand attributes, such as our Mediterranean style cruising, year-long kids sail free program, the exclusive MSC Yacht Club experience, world-class entertainment and our modern fleet.  This year has been an exciting one for our brand, culminating with the arrival of MSC Divina to her new year-round home at PortMiami.  It is only fitting that we honor our most trusted and supportive partners in a big way.”

With a five-month countdown to the arrival of MSC Divina and a slew of exciting product enhancements, MSC Cruises is making it easier than ever for agents to promote what the brand will bring to the North American market.  MSC has joined forces with Eataly, the popular Turin-based epicurean Italian emporium opened in the US in 2010, in partnership with popular celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Lidia and Joe Bastianich — to launch two incredible restaurants and a marketplace onboard MSC Divina. In the area that previously hosted the Tex Mex specialty restaurant and the Sacramento Hamburger House, MSC Divina will now showcase two entirely unique Eataly dining venues; the upscale Ristorante Italia and spectacular regional steakhouse, Manzo, fashioned after the famed restaurant in Eataly’s Manhattan location.  Eataly was launched in the U.S. in partnership with celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Lidia and Joe Bastianich.

MSC Divina will also be the first ship to offer Aqua Cycling at sea.  Reported as this summer’s latest fitness craze by “Extra TV” and highlighted on “Good Morning America”, The New York Times and Time magazine, among other media, Aqua Cycling will allow MSC Divina guests to take spinning to new heights while cruising the Caribbean.  Additional announcements will be communicated over the next couple of months, making MSC Divina the most talked about ship arriving to North America.