Who owns MSC Cruises? The History behind the foundation

MSC Cruises: MSC Cruises was first established in 1989 in Naples, Italy, and is currently based in Geneva, Switzerland. With 19 cruise ships in its fleet, it has over 30,000 employees. Based on these figures, this company is among the fastest-growing cruise brands in the world. We go into great detail about the history and ownership of MSC Cruises.

MSC Cruises offers opulent cabins that complement an elegant and tranquil onboard experience. It is mostly renowned for its warm European welcome. With an average age of 45, it draws a significantly younger clientele than other cruise lines, where the average age is 46.

Up until recently, the majority of MSC Cruises’ clientele came from Europe, specifically from Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

MSC Yacht Club is the pinnacle of MSC Cruises’ series of luxurious cruise ships, which are meant to entice affluent travelers. There is a café, sun lounges, a VIP lounge, and a pool at the MSC Yacht Club. They also have a butler on duty around the clock and a personal concierge.

To open a presence in North America, they increased their fleet size in 2017. They used to have just one ship in North America. Currently, nevertheless, they operate three MSC cruise ships out of ports in the United States.

Large, resort-style MSC cruise ships are currently being built to accommodate the needs of the North American market. They offer a variety of entertainment options, such as massive waterparks and race car simulators.

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What’s MSC all about?

In MSC Cruises, the letters “MSC” stand for “Mediterranean Shipping Company.” They are a part of the MSC Group, which runs one of the biggest shipping firms globally.

Who owns MSC Cruises?

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Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) owns MSC Cruises. In the container transportation industry, they have the second-largest business position. They are the owners of 570 cargo ships. The divisions of Mediterranean Shipping Company are as follows:

The Founder

Gianluigi Aponte, Founder of MSC cruises
(Credit: International finance Magazine)

Along with his family—son Diego, daughter Alexa, and wife Rafaela—Gianluigi Aponte is the owner of MSC Cruises. Aponte, the owner, creator, and chairman of MSC, is an Italian millionaire. His family plays an important part in the operation of the company.

With a combined net worth of $13.2 billion, Gianluigi and Rafaela Aponte rank among the richest couples in the shipping business. They rank 126th among the world’s wealthiest people, according to other sources.

Born on June 27, 1940, Gianluigi was the owner of the Mediterranean Shipping Company, the organization that founded MSC Cruises. MSC is in charge of operating 510 cargo ships.

In 1970, Gianluigi joined his wife in the maritime sector, having previously served as a ship captain. Since then, MSC has expanded to rank second in the world’s shipping industry behind AP Moller Maersk in terms of vessel capacity.

After Carnival Corporation, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, and Royal Caribbean Group, they are the fourth-largest cruise line. In 2014, Gianluigi stepped down as MSC’s CEO and was appointed chairman. His son Diego succeeded his father in the post.

Is MSC Cruises a publicly or privately owned company?

Other cruise lines are owned by shareholders and are listed on public markets. The Aponte family, on the other hand, is the private owner of MSC Cruises, one of the biggest cruise lines in the world.

The corporation does not have stock because it is privately held. In contrast to Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line, investors cannot purchase shares in this corporation.

Gianni Onorato is the company’s current CEO. Having previously served as president of Costa Cruises since 2013, Gianni Onorato has thirty years of expertise in the cruise ship sector.

MSC Cruises History

MSC Cruises
(Credit: Travel Weekly)

The Aponte family was active in the maritime business long before MSC Cruises was established in 1989.

Their connection in shipping into and out of Naples, Italy, is first documented in 1675. Among the vessels involved in this activity was the felucca Giovannina, which spent many years circling the Sorrento Peninsula.

1970 saw the birth of the Mediterranean Shipping Company’s cargo section as Gianluigi took out a loan to purchase his first ship, the Patricia, followed by the Rafaela. Gianluigi established the first route that connected Somalia with the Mediterranean.

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After acquiring Lauro Lines in 1989, MSC rebranded the two ships, Achille Lauro and Monterey, as StarLauro Cruises. Achille Lauro founded Lauro Lines in the 1960s. The MS Achille Lauro and MS Angelina Lauro were put into service. Aponte received mentoring from Mr. Lauro. This was the inaugural cruise line for MSC.

In 1979, the U.S. Virgin Islands’ St. Thomas pier saw the sinking of the Angelina Lauro. This incident put the business, which was then called Lauro Lines, in financial jeopardy. Up to December 1994, when Achille Lauro caught fire, the fleet consisted of just two ships. On its way to South Africa, it sank off the coast of Somalia. Due to its financial difficulties, the business was open to MSC’s acquisition.

The cruise line once again changed its name to MSC Cruises in 1995. They purchased the Cunard Princess and renamed it MSC Rhapsody in the same year. They bought MSC Symphony as well. In 1997, Melody became a part of MSC Cruises, expanding the company’s fleet to four cruise ships.

To create the most up-to-date fleet, the business spent 5.5 billion euros building 12 new cruise ships fifteen years later. They once again invested 5.1 billion euros in 2014 to expand four already-existing ships and buy seven new ones.

They paid 2.6 billion euros for three more world-class ships the following year, after investing 3.9 billion euros for four ships two years earlier. MSC Cruises declared last year that it would build a second cruise terminal in Miami just for these ships. It will be an extension of their North American program, which is now anticipated to be finished in December 2023 after initially being scheduled for completion in 2022.

Subsequently, MSC revealed that they had procured four opulent vessels, each weighing 64,000 gross tons. These cruise lines were to operate ultra-luxury ships that were modeled around MSC Yacht Club’s luxurious offerings. In the spring of 2023, the first of these ships is scheduled to launch.

MSC Seashore
(Credit: Pinterest)

A hundred-year lease on the island known as Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve began in 2019. That year, they announced the launch of ZOE, the first virtual cruise assistant, and launched for business. Harman International is the company that created this artificial intelligence device, which is present on the MSC Grandiosa and MSC Bellissima. Once delivered, it will also be included in further builds.

Because of their industry-leading health and safety measures, MSC Cruises was the first major cruise company to resume operations following the pandemic in 2020.

MSC declared in January 2021 that MSC Magnifica would resume ten-night voyages in February and that MSC Grandiosa would start seven-night trips in January. Only Schengen nations were permitted to take one of the two Mediterranean cruises.

Early in June, MSC announced that it was launching four ships under the luxury brand Explora Journeys. Additionally, they presented Rob, the first robotic bartender discovered at sea. It was shown aboard the MSC Virtuosa.

With its main office located in Geneva, MSC Cruises is a company registered in Switzerland. Its operations offices are located in Naples, Genoa, and Venice. The company offers cruises to a variety of countries on a global basis. As a result, while visitors are on board, many different languages are spoken. There are often announcements in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

They just inked an agreement to become an official cruise partner of Formula 1 that will last for several years. They are now constructing four mega-ships with a combined weight of 200,000 tons as part of a massive expansion. 6,761 passengers will travel on each of these ships.

Later this decade, MSC Cruises plans to launch a new class of large ships and several smaller luxury cruise lines run by independent subsidiaries. Entertainment on board is primarily focused on visuals, such as dancers, acrobats, or music.

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What Are the Destinations of MSC Cruises?

MSC Cruises
(Credit: Skift)

The MSC group, the largest cruise operator in Europe, is primarily focused in Europe even though it operates throughout the world. The majority of their ships are deployed in the Mediterranean or Northern Europe in the summer. They have recently operated two ships from Florida to the Bahamas and the Caribbean during the summer.

More ships are added to the Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries throughout the winter. There are also intentions to send a fifth ship, but only four will be deployed to South America. Ships are also sent to South Africa and the Middle East.

Facts about MSC

When MSC Lirica was first launched in 2003, Sophia Loren was asked if she would be interested in serving as its godmother. She went on to name every navy ship until the MSC Virtuosa since then.

Unfortunately, Zoe Vago, Aponte’s granddaughter, was christened MSC World Europa and MSC Virtuosa instead of her due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Cargo Business

After Maersk, MSC Group is the world’s second-largest shipping firm. They have about 150,000 employees worldwide and operate over 730 cargo ships.

The organization runs a global network of logistics and transportation that reaches 155 countries via more than 260 routes.

Twenty-foot equivalent units, or 23 million TEU, are estimated to be delivered yearly by the corporation.

The cargo division also includes MEDLOG, an independent logistics operator that specializes in multimodal transportation (road, rail, barge, and ocean services), and Terminal Investments Limited, which invests in, builds, and maintains container terminals.


MSC Cruises’ owner is who? The Aponte family still proudly owns the cruise line, and members of their family hold various positions within the company. With a fascinating track record of expansion and achievement, it is currently the fourth-largest cruise fleet worldwide.

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