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The US president of MSC Cruises discusses the company’s stateside development and the launch of its first comedy club.

The presence of MSC Cruises in the United States is growing.

The Geneva, Switzerland-based cruise line recently announced more expansion in the United States. It has been increasing the number of sailings from American homeports and announcing the arrival of World America, a new ship created specifically with North American passengers in mind. According to a news release from the company, MSC opened the ship for reservations on Wednesday.

Because the U.S. market is the largest cruise market in the world, MSC Cruises America President Rubén Rodrguez told USA TODAY in an interview that the only option to grow the way MSC Cruises intends to grow and to fill all these ships we’ve ordered is to accelerate growth in the U.S. market.

In our conversation with Rodrguez, we learned about the line’s ongoing success in the United States, new additions to the World America ship, and the way the service is catered to Americans. This conversation has been condensed and made more concise.

What led MSC to provide funding to the United States?

People believe the U.S. cruise market to be fairly developed, and while it is, I believe, more developed than other markets—such as China or perhaps South America—it still has many advantages. Even yet, there are many Americans who have never cruised but are curious in doing so. Hence, there are numerous opportunities for market penetration to increase.

A: World America is designed with the North American consumer in mind. What did you make of this ship carrying passengers from North America and how would it differ from previous MSC ships?

A: We refer to the consumers we target in North America as “cultured cruisers.” There are many millions of people who have either taken cruises in the past or who have never taken one but are eager to do so. … They typically have household incomes that are above average and higher than average levels of education, although they are still upper middle class. … They enjoy visiting other countries. They enjoy becoming fully immersed in various cultures. They enjoy spending time in nature. They have a strong commitment to sustainability. They also play sports.

And when we were planning World America, we wanted to preserve the aspects of the experience that were truly global and that the guests loved while also adding a few elements that would be very useful to American cruisers.

… They really want to have a room where they can play together and rest together, families with kids, so we asked the younger families that sailed with us in the Caribbean, “How can we do better. What can we give that would make your holiday even better.” Also, they enjoy being outside but prefer shade. So, on deck 20, we’ve made this hub of activity that we name The Harbor.

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