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 Sir Bani Yas.

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.

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’ current modern fleet is the result of a 6 billion euro investment programme started in 2003. Following the addition of Fantasia flagship MSC Preziosa in March 2013, the fleet currently comprises 13 ships, four of each different generation.

MSC Meraviglia (2017), the latest addition and flagship of the fleet is the largest ship ever built by a European based cruise company. She will be joined by MSC Bellissima (2019), the second ship in the Meraviglia Class, as well as two Meraviglia-Plus Class ships joining the fleet (2019 and 2020 respectively). 

The four Fantasia class ships – MSC Preziosa (2013), MSC Divina (2012), MSC Splendida (2009) and MSC Fantasia (2008) – are MSC Cruises’ largest vessels, each with a GRT of approximately 140,000 tonnes and measuring 333m in length and 38m in width. MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia both accommodate 4,363 travellers each, while MSC Divina and MSC Preziosa each accommodate 4,345 travellers.

Complementing them are the four vessels in the Musica Class – MSC Magnifica (2010), MSC Poesia (2008), MSC Orchestra (2007) and MSC Musica (2006) – each with a GRT of 90,000 tonnes and carrying just under 3,000 travellers each.

The fleet is completed by the Lirica Class – MSC Sinfonia (2005), MSC Armonia (2004), MSC Opera (2004) and MSC Lirica (2003) – each with a GRT of around 65,500 tonnes and carrying over 2,000 guests.

Managing Director MSC Cruises Nederland


Erik Schuffel - Managing Director MSC Cruises the Netherlands B.V.

Erik Schuffel is de Managing Director van MSC Cruises in Nederland. Van het kantoor in  Hoofddorp stuurt hij zijn enthousiaste en gemotiveerde Sales- en Marketing medewerkers 
aan en is hij verantwoordelijk voor de verkoop van MSC Cruises in Nederland. Schuffel heeft  zich tot doelgesteld om cruise vakanties in het algemeen in populariteit te laten toenemen, de naamsbekendheid van MSC Cruises in Nederland te versterken, alsmede het eigen marktaandeel verder te doen stijgen.  

Schuffel is 20 jaar werkzaam in de toeristische branche en beschikt over een ruime internationale commerciële ervaring. Hij is geboren op 27 april 1967 in Dordrecht. Na voltooiing van zijn HBO studie aan de Nationale Hogeschool voor Toerisme en Verkeer in Breda, is hij in dienst getreden van Martinair op de afdeling Customer Service. Aansluitend heeft hij voor Kras Ster Vakanties een reisbureau gerund in Amsterdam. Hierop verhuisde hij naar de regio Twente, waar hij ruim 8 jaar werkzaam is geweest als respectievelijk inkoper en product manager van auto, bus en vliegreizen voor aansluitend Arke Reizen in Enschede en OAD Reizen in Holten. Hij keerde vervolgens terug naar de Randstad , waar hij aan de slag ging als product manager voor TUI Nederland. Hier kreeg hij een paar jaar later de kans om zich verder te ontwikkelen op het gebied van Marketing en Sales. Hij was twee jaar in de functie van brandmanager verantwoordelijk voor het merk Holland Interational binnen de marketing afdeling van TUI Nederland. Vervolgens werd hij aangesteld als Key Account Manager op de afdeling Sales, waar hij verantwoordelijk werd voor de grootste B-to-B accounts voor de merken Holland International, Arke Reizen, FIT en Robinson. Hij ontwikkelde zijn Sales en Marketing vaardigheden verder als Sales Manager voor Club Med in Nederland, waar hij ruim 4 jaar werkzaam is geweest. Alvorens Schuffel op 1 december 2010 in dienst trad van MSC Cruises, was hij afkomstig van De Jong Intra Vakanties in Ridderkerk waar hij voor een korte periode actief was als Senior Product Manager op de afdeling Auto- en Vliegvakanties. 

Top Management


Pierfrancesco Vago – Executive Chairman

In January 2014 Mr Vago became Chairman of CLIA Europe, the European branch of the cruise industry’s global association, a position that he held until December 2016. During this time Mr Vago led CLIA Europe to take an increasingly more central role in engaging with all the relevant European and national authorities and legislative bodies across the Continent, with a particular focus on Brussels, and in close cooperation with CLIA Global. As a member of CLIA’s Global Executive Committee, Mr Vago continues to be closely involved in the Association’s work and activities. He also remains a member of CLIA Europe’s Executive Committee and Board.

As Chief Executive Office of MSC Cruises, Gianni Onorato oversees the Company’s growth from its Geneva-based headquarters and reports to the Board of Directors and to its Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago.


Gianni Onorato – Chief Executive Officer

With over 30 years’ experience in the cruise industry, Mr Onorato has a finely developed understanding of the cruise business and extensive knowledge in senior executive leadership, having served as President of Costa Cruises from 2004 to 2013.

Born in Italy, Mr Onorato graduated from Naples’ Istituto Orientale with a degree in Foreign Languages and Literature in 1983, and then specialized at SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan and INSEAD in Fontainebleau.

He began his cruise industry career in 1986 at Costa Cruises as Food and Beverage Manager before becoming Cruise Product Director. From 1997 he served as Vice President & Cruise Operations Director and was responsible for logistics and provisioning, as well as all activities relating to calls, excursions and hotel operations.


Emilio La Scala – President – Cruise Management UK

Sail before the wind” are the words that  best express the spirit of Emilio La Scala, President , Cruise Management UK. Passionate about ships from a young age, La Scala studied at the famous Nautical Institute in his native city of Naples, graduating in 1978. He then embarked with MSC Cargo vessels as a deck officer, obtaining all the necessary certifications needed to meet the requirements of a maritime career. Seagoing changed to a shore-based  profession in 1984 when he started as the assistant to the MSC Technical Director, taking part in several major projects involving the renovation and repurposing of traditional cargo ships to container ships. 

In 1990, MSC entered the cruise industry with its acquisition of the SS Monterey –  setting a new course in the career of La Scala. As General Manager, he heads a team of more than 100 personnel who comprise the dynamic MSC Cruise technical department. Based in the heart of Piano di Sorrento, the technical department operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to plan, build, manage and maintain a large and expanding fleet of cruise ships – some of which are among the largest in the world. Using professional skills and techniques acquired in various courses focused on quality, personnel management, and ship safety and security, in 2000 La Scala introduced a vital new department dedicated to new builds, where he is project manager. 

This vital new direction has already resulted in the delivery of nine new vessels.