PRESS RELEASE_London, UK (March 21, 2018) — MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately owned cruise company and leading cruise line in Europe and South America, revealed today another industry first with the introduction of a digital cruise personal assistant as a new feature of MSC for Me, the Company’s digital innovation program. This new and ground-breaking guest service, developed in partnership with HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., and leader in connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, will debut on MSC Bellissima, which is currently under construction at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.
The Company also announced that MSC Bellissima, which will be MSC Cruises’ next flagship, will be christened in the port of Southampton, UK on March 2, 2019. The two announcements were made today in London at the launch of MSC Cruises’ new 2019-2020 brochure to travel agent partners and media.
“This is another example of how we are continuously innovating to better serve the needs of not only the cruise guests of today but also those of the future, as we continue to shape the future of the cruise vacation,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. “We employ state-of-the-art technology in a uniquely comprehensive way, building it into every step of the development of our new ships, starting from their conception and design to the final guest experience. It is through our cruise expertise, the skill of our shipyard partners and our unique collaborations with world-leading digital and technology experts such as Samsung and, now, HARMAN that we are able to introduce ground-breaking technology to provide our guests with a connected experience that enhances their cruise from beginning to end.”
The virtual personal assistant for MSC Cruises guests is a conversational, voice-enabled Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation that can communicate, learn and intelligently predict guests’ needs to make relevant suggestions. This new and unique offering will provide guests with tailored information to help simplify and enhance their MSC Cruises experience by providing quick and easy answers to questions from the comfort of their own stateroom.
Industry-Leading Digital Innovation
MSC Cruises’ digital innovation program has been developed in collaboration with more than eleven of the world’s leading digital, tech and behavioral science experts, including Deloitte Digital and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. This latest enhancement to MSC for Me has been conceptualized by MSC Cruises’ dedicated Business Innovation team led by Luca Pronzati, Chief Innovation Officer, and HARMAN, whose experts in the field of voice-enabled technology have developed audio solutions for technology leaders such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft. This new collaboration is a result of the long-standing relationship between MSC Cruises and Samsung, a true partnership founded on a joint vision to shape the future of the cruise industry through the introduction of the very best connected technologies.
Sanjay Dhawan, President, HARMAN Connected Services and HARMAN CTO, commented, “Digital Assistants and voice recognition technologies are transforming the way we communicate and get our work done today. With this outstanding solution, MSC Cruises will completely transform its guest experience on board. Imagine getting instant and personalized information like cruise events, entertainment options, journey updates, or just playing your favorite music by a simple voice command. HARMAN is excited to bring this innovation to MSC Cruises.”
Unlike other home digital assistants that rely on cloud-based programs with internet-connected devices or applications, this digital offering will be designed around a ship-based solution, customized especially for MSC Cruises’ guests’ needs. The current ways in which guests seek their information on board will be further enhanced, allowing for a uniquely personalized experience. Reflecting MSC Cruises’ truly international on board offering, guests will be able to communicate with the new digital personal assistant device in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Mandarin. The personal assistant will initially launch on MSC Bellissima, but will be available on all future new ships and plans are in place to introduce the feature on the rest of the fleet.
The unique service is the latest feature of MSC for Me, a multi-channel digital experience that is designed to connect guests to their cruise with cutting-edge technology. It includes the MSC for Me App, in-cabin connected television, and interactive information screens around the ship, among other features. MSC for Me was first launched on board MSC Bellissima’s award-winning sister ship, MSC Meraviglia.
MSC Bellissima brings beauty to Southampton
MSC Bellissima will become MSC Cruises’ fourth mega-ship to come into service in less than three years since 2017 and is part of a ten-year €10.5 billion (≈$12.4 billion USD) investment program introducing a total of 12 new ships. She represents a further evolution of the award-winning Meraviglia prototype as her sister-ship, MSC Meraviglia, which came into service in June 2017 was awarded Cruise Critic’s Editors’ Picks “Best New Ship in the UK” in 2017.
Launching as MSC Cruises’ next flagship, MSC Bellissima will be christened in Southampton on March 2, 2019 at a glamorous event that will be attended by VIP guests from all around the world as well as the UK and Ireland.
“The crowning moment of the launch of any new ship is her Christening, a traditional maritime ceremony that holds great importance for us,” continued Onorato. “For each new ship, MSC Cruises carefully selects a country and a port to host the Christening. We have chosen to host the Christening of MSC Bellissima in Southampton as a demonstration of our continued commitment to growth in the UK and Ireland. This is a truly beautiful ship, worthy of the name Bellissima and this Christening will be a truly beautiful moment for MSC Cruises and the UK.”
An enriched onboard experience
Each new MSC Cruises ship is designed to be unique and distinctive, and MSC Bellissima is no exception. In addition to the new cruise personal assistant, the ship will offer new features and experiences.
Some of the highlights include:
· Two new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea that can only be seen on board MSC Bellissima. The shows, currently under creative development, are the result of a long-term partnership with world-leaders in entertainment, Cirque du Soleil, and includes a total of eight original productions created for the four Meraviglia generation ships.
· The theater will offer newly created West-End style entertainment every evening, and the iconic LED Sky Screen, the longest at sea at an impressive 262 feet long, will delight guests with a series of exciting animations and shows.
· The on board dining has been further enhanced with the introduction of two new dining concepts - L’Atelier Bistrot, with terrace seating so that guests can enjoy the Promenade, and the modern, street food inspired Market Street, serving an array of tempting delights throughout the day and evening.
· MSC Cruises’ award-winning family offering will also be enhanced with new features including the introduction of a fun Grand Canyon themed Aquapark and new magic-inspired kids entertainment for all ages. The family deck will include the DOREMI Studio Lounge, a dedicated lounge for all family activities, DOREMI Tech Lab, a must-visit for kids who love technology, and facilities designed in partnership with family experts including the LEGO Group and Chicco.
MSC Bellissima will spend her inaugural season in the popular Western Mediterranean before moving to spend the winter in the United Arab Emirates, calling at Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, Muscat and Khasab.
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