MSC CRUISES AND AIRFRANCE STRENGTHEN THEIR PARTNERSHIP TO CUBA
• MSC Cruises and Air France are once again strengthening their partnership and their cooperation in the French market with the signing of a Fly&Cruise agreement
• For the winter 2016-2017 season, there will be two weekly flights dedicated to MSC Cruises guests between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Havana in Cuba
On July 1st 2016, MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, and Air France signed a new Fly&Cruise agreement offering two weekly flights dedicated exclusively to MSC Cruises guests between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Havana in Cuba, from October 30, 2016 to March 25, 2017.
This agreement will enable a total of 10,450 MSC Cruise guests to have direct access to Cuba thanks to 36 dedicated flight rotations chartered by Air France and its Airbus A340 aircraft equipped with 275 seats including 30 in Business, 21 in Premium Economy and 224 in Economy. 19 direct flights will depart from Paris-Charles de Gaulle and another 17 flights from the French regions* as a continuation of Paris-Charles de Gaulle.
MSC Cruises has seen growing demand for its Caribbean cruises since it added Havana and Isla de la Juventud to its winter itineraries last year. The Company has now agreed to strengthen its partnership with Air France, which has existed since 2012, to provide flights to Cuba for a second consecutive season.
The twice-weekly service will offer guests easy access to MSC Cruises’ Caribbean itineraries, on departure from all French regions*. With a wide range of Fly&Cruise packages, guests can choose to travel in one of Air France’s three cabins, Business, Premium Economy or Economy. They will be able to check in two pieces of hold baggage and also take two cabin bags, as well as earn miles via Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue loyalty program.
MSC Cruises’ Fly&Cruise packages offer guests a seamless travel experience, they simply check in their bags at their local airport and they will be delivered directly to their cabin on board the ship. The packages also include transfers to and from the airport, which means that guests are taken directly from the airport to the ship.
MSC Cruises Chief Executive Office Gianni Onorato commented: “We are committed to delivering best-in-class experiences for our guests all across our product. Air France provides the outstanding level of service that our guests expect in connection with an MSC Cruises holiday, additionally the airline’s extensive network will allow more of our French guests the opportunity to experience the cultural and other delights of Cuba and the Caribbean.”
Patrick Alexandre, EVP Commercial-Sales & Alliances at Air France-KLM also declared: "In addition to the two daily flights to Havana operated by Air France next winter, we have come up with a tailor-made offering together with MSC Cruises, with 2 dedicated transatlantic flights every week and customized services for cruise passengers. We want Air France flights to be part of their memories of an unforgettable holiday and are proud to be strengthening our cooperation with MSC Cruises every year."
Last year, MSC Cruises was the first international cruise line to homeport in Havana, Cuba. This year the Company will be adding a second ship, MSC Armonia , to join MSC Opera at its home-port in Havana in a move to double its offering in the region. Both ships went through a complete upgrade in 2015 as part of a €200 million overhaul and upgrade programme.
About MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises, part of the MSC Group is the Swiss-based, world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, sailing year-round in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Seasonal itineraries cover northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, Cuba and the French Antilles, South America, southern Africa, China and Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.
The MSC Cruise experience embodies the elegant side of the Mediterranean to create unique and unforgettable emotions for guests, through discovery of the world’s cultures, beauties and tastes. Its fleet comprises 12 of the most modern ships at sea: MSC Preziosa; MSC Divina; MSC Splendida; MSC Fantasia; MSC Magnifica; MSC Poesia; MSC Orchestra; MSC Musica; MSC Sinfonia; MSC Armonia; MSC Opera and MSC Lirica.
In 2014, MSC Cruises launched an investment plan to support the second phase of its growth through the order of two ships of the Meraviglia generation and two others of the Seaside generation (plus an option for a third) and in February 2016, confirmed the existing options to build a further two now Meraviglia Plus ships with an even greater capacity. In April 2016 this rose to €9 billion with the announcement of signing of the letter of intent to build a further four ships, each with next-generation LNG propulsion technology. Consequently, between 2017 and 2026 a total of up to 11 new, next-generation MSC Cruises ships will come into service. MSC Cruises is the first global cruise line brand to develop an investment plan of this length and magnitude, spanning an horizon of over ten years, from 2014 through 2026.
MSC Cruises feels a deep responsibility for the environments in which it operates, and was the first company ever to earn the Bureau Veritas "7 Golden Pearls" for superior management and environmental stewardship. In 2009, MSC Cruises began an enduring partnership with UNICEF to support various programmes assisting children worldwide. So far, more than €5m has been collected in voluntary guest donations.
About Air France
Air France, a global airline of French inspiration, with high standards and a caring attitude, turns the flight into a moment of real pleasure on all its daily operations in France, Europe and worldwide.
Air France-KLM is the leading Group in terms of international traffic on departure from Europe. In 2016, it offers its customers access to a network covering 320 destinations in 114 countries thanks to its four brands Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Transavia and HOP! Air France. With a fleet of 534 aircraft in operation and 89.8 million passengers carried in 2015, Air France-KLM operates up to 2,200 daily flights from its hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol.
Its Flying Blue frequent flyer programme is one of the leaders in Europe with over 27 million members.
Air France-KLM and its partners Delta Air Lines and Alitalia operate the biggest trans-Atlantic joint-venture with 270 daily flights.
The Group also offers cargo transport and aeronautical maintenance solutions.
Air France-KLM is also a member of the SkyTeam alliance which has 20 member airlines, offering customers access to a global network of over 16,270 daily flights to 1,057 destinations in 179 countries.
*Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Metz-Nancy, Montpellier, Mulhouse, Nantes, Nice, Strasbourg, Toulouse.