MSC Cruises USA, the North American arm of MSC Cruises, has named Michelle Lardizabal its new senior vice president and commercial sales officer, a new position for the company that will make her responsible for overseeing the brand’s entire U.S. sales organization. The move is effective October 16.
Lardizabal’s appointment is the latest move in the cruise line’s ongoing expansion into the North American market. The recent arrival of MSC Meraviglia to the U.S. marks the first time in the company’s history that four ships will be sailing from the region, including MSC Seaside, MSC Divina, MSC Armonia and MSC Meraviglia, the cruise line said. Also soon to open is the new Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises’ new private island destination in the Bahamas, as well as a new double-berth cruise terminal being built at PortMiami.
Reporting directly to Ken Muskat, executive vice president and chief operating officer of MSC Cruises USA, Lardizabal will drive the overall strategy of the commercial sales organization. Within her organization, Lori Sheller, SVP of strategic accounts, will continue to be responsible for driving the relationships MSC Cruises holds with large travel consortia and key accounts, adding to her portfolio MICE and charters, as well as casino business, critical growth areas for the company.
With 25 years of sales experience, Lardizabal joins MSC Cruises after leading the U.S. sales organization at Club Med, where she was a member of their executive committee and worldwide leadership committee. Prior to that she was vice president of sales for City Wonders, a European guided tour company. Michelle also spent more than a decade at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in a variety of roles, including director of inside sales and training, director of field sales and associate vice president of global sales and distribution.