|Pierfranceso Vago and Rick Sasso at A Voce luncheon|
Travel Agent magazine headed into the snowy fray last week to A Voce on Columbus Circle to hear CEO of MSC Cruises, Pierfrancesco Vago, discuss his exclusive MSC Yacht Club with the American press for the very first time.
MSC Cruises debuted its Yacht Club aboard the MSC Fantasia in 2008 and the MSC Splendida in 2009 and now a third ship, MSC Divina, is poised to offer the Club in 2012 — Rick Sasso, president of MSC Cruises USA, and Barbara Muckermann, head of corporate marketing, joined Vago in bolstering U.S. awareness of this luxury offering.
MSC Cruises is the largest privately owned cruise company in the world, featuring 11 ships.
"The cruise division we bought in the '80s - three old ships - and we weren't sure if it had a future or a purpose," explained Vago. "We had to make a heavy investment or sell. But in 2003 we decided to be a serious player and invested $5.5 billion euros - we want MSC to become a brand in America."
|MSC Fantasia - MSC Yacht Club Swarovski Staircase|
Gesturing wildly, Vago laughed: "It's like we say, 'in Rome, do as the Romans do'. As you can see, I use my hands - a proper Italian!"
The MSC Yacht Club, available only to those staying in the Yacht Club suites, is a "santuario esclusivo," an exclusive sanctuary at sea.
The Club, which has been designed so non-members cannot even see it while aboard the ships, offers a lengthy list of of amenities including 24 hour butler/concierge service, a private reception area, a private lounge, bar and restaurant, private embarkation and luggage assistant from butlers, private ensuite shopping from designer boutiques and a private elevator and entrance to the 1,700 square-foot Aurea Spa.
|Top Sail Observation Lounge|
The Yacht Club Suites, designed by Italy's De Jorio Design International come in three sizes: Royal, Deluxe and Family, and feature Egyptian cotton sheets, private verandas with floor-to ceiling-windows, and front of ship views of the Mediterranean. The marble bathrooms feature a spa bath and seperate shower.
Sogni dolci (sweet dreams) indeed.