Giles Hawke, Managing Director for MSC Cruises UK and Ireland, has now been appointed Executive Director for the UK, Ireland and Australia. MSC also plans to halt its ex-UK sailings for 2015 and to increase its fly-cruise capacity to the Mediterranean.
In his new role, Giles will be responsible for all operations in the UK, Ireland & Australia. In addition, he will act as the co-ordinator and reference point for North America, South America and Central America, as well as South Africa, co-ordinating passengers travelling to Europe who have been sourced from these countries, which are managed by the Revenue Centre Europe, based in Geneva.
Giles said: “I am delighted to be taking on a broader role within MSC Cruises. I still have a very strong focus on the local domestic markets, while having the opportunity to share best practice in both directions with other English speaking markets where we operate. This is a great role to help position MSC cruises for further significant growth.”
Appointed Managing Director in November 2013, Giles has over 20 years’ experience in the travel industry.
Meanwhile, further to the announcement of the two-year ‘Renaissance Programme’ for MSC’s Lirica class ships, which will see the redevelopment of MSC Armonia, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica, MSC Cruises will be focusing more on its Mediterranean heritage in 2015.
MSC Cruises has always been proud of its roots and this is reflected in its distinctive ‘Mediterranean way of life’ attitude that is evident on board their fleet of 12 ships. Passengers are encouraged to embrace a philosophy of life that is measured in moments as opposed to minutes and traditional values are at the heart of the MSC experience, with a focus on food and family.
The Renaissance Programme will see the Lirica class ships in dry dock for 38 weeks with MSC Opera – currently sailing out of Southampton – being out of action for the first half of summer 2015. As a result, MSC Cruises has decided to halt ex-UK sailings for a year and will be dramatically increasing its fly-cruise capacity by taking more UK passengers on fly-cruises to the Mediterranean than ever before.
Giles Hawke said: “As market leader for Mediterranean cruises it is important that we work to reinforce this position by increasing our fly-cruise capacity, along with improving our ships to include more balcony cabins, more on board entertainment and additional technological advancements.
“We are considering various charter options and working with our air partners to come up with the best approach to keep up with the current customer demand for fly-cruises direct to the Mediterranean. We will also be introducing tools supporting travel agents in order to make the fly-cruise booking process easier than ever.”