The 92400 gross ton ship is considerably larger than her predecessor, MSC Sinfonia, which sailed here in recent summers. By comparison, Sinfonia is a mere 65000 gt, but big enough compared to the early era of cruise ships, which were so lacking in capacity to meet an apparently insatiable demand by a worldwide public that has taken to cruising.
This year an estimated 27.7 million people will have taken a cruise somewhere in the world - that’s an increase from the 17.8 million that went cruising 10 years ago in 2009. Few other business “niches”, especially those in the travel industry, can claim such growth and it explains why so many new cruise ships are coming into service every year.
Another factor is that only a few of the older vessels are retired and some continue in service with the smaller cruise companies even when they have reached 40 years or more, before eventually finding their way to the ship breakers. The capacity continues to grow and cruising has become big business, everywhere.
In 2016 the economic impact of cruising globally amounted to $126billion, generating $41bn in wages and salaries. With the demand increasing by 20.5% in the past five years, cruising has long remained the fastest-growing category in the leisure travel market.