MSC Cruises (Italian: MSC Crociere S.p.A.) is a division of Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC). MSC is an Italian shipping company devoted to the cruise market with headquarters in Geneva. The company, whose capital is wholly European, employs 12,000 people worldwide and has offices in 43 countries.
Originally founded as Lauro Lines by Achille Lauro, the company entered the cruise business in the 1960s, operating two ships, the Angelina Lauro and MS Achille Lauro, both of which met fiery ends. After the Angelina Lauro burnt in the port of St.Thomas in 1979, Lauro Lines, also known as Flotta Lauro, met with bad times, now operating just one ship, the Achille Lauro. In 1985, the Achille Lauro was hijacked by members of the Palestine Liberation Front, and the much-publicised event further dropped passenger numbers. In 1989, Flotta Lauro was purchased by Mediterranean Shipping Company and renamed StarLauro Cruises. In 1994, the Achille Lauro caught fire and sank. In 1995, the company name was changed to MSC Cruises.
MSC Cruises is the fourth largest cruise operator in the world, after Carnival Corporation & plc, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line with a 6% share of all passengers carried and cruise revenue in 2012.
On March 1, 2010, after strong support from French government, STX Europe and MSC Cruises announced signing a new Letter of Intent to build one, 139,000 ton, 3502 passenger, Fantasia-class ship, which is subject to financing, at STX Europe St-Nazaire.
MSC cruise ship ‘Fantasia’