View From the Bridge - RICK SASSO

Rick Sasso of MSC CruisesRICK SASSO

Rick Sasso is marking his 40th year in the travel industry and 38th year in the cruise industry. After holding key positions at Costa Cruises and Chandris Cruises, Rick joined the team that launched Celebrity Cruises in 1990 and served as the line’s president from 1995-2001. In 1999 the National Association of Cruise Only Agencies (NACOA) honored him as “Cruise Industry Executive of the Year” and a leading travel trade magazine named him “Cruise Industry Executive of the Year.” He also served as chairman of both CLIA and FCCA. In 2004, he was named to head the management team of MSC Cruises USA, the fast-growing Europe-based cruise company, in the North American market. He also currently serves as chairman of CLIA’s Marketing Committee.

 MSC Continues to Offer Guests the ‘Art of Cruising’ on Itineraries Around the World

By Richard E. Sasso

The cruise industry has been my life for more than 38 years. Early on, I became enamored with what I now refer to as the “art of cruising,” where the emphasis was on the cruising experience itself and a high level of service and hospitality.

As the industry has evolved, the differences in cruise ships, their onboard amenities and experiences have been well documented. Just as significant is the evolution of itineraries available to today’s cruisers. It cannot be denied that the journey is an important element of the cruise experience, but equally important are the destinations.

Years ago, cruise ships sailed from a limited number of ports, offering little difference in itineraries from one line to the next. Today, however, cruise lines offer a “menu” of itineraries from which to choose, with a diversity that is incomparable in the history of the cruise industry. Guests can select from itineraries that include popular or not-so-often-visited ports of call and can sail anywhere from two days to several months. The choice is theirs!

While things may have changed over the years, I still believe that, when people book a cruise today, they still have certain expectations. They expect superb entertainment, fresh food on board every day, and warm service and hospitality.

When I joined MSC Cruises (USA), Inc. in 2004, one of the main reasons I came onboard was that I was impressed by the fact that MSC Cruises remains committed to the “art of cruising.”

The rich Italian character of MSC Cruises is reminiscent of lines such as Sitmar Cruises and Home Lines, which were renowned for the warmth, charm and attention to detail of their Italian crews. While embodying the timeless understated elegance of those famous lines, MSC Cruises also offers onboard features that today's vacationers want, such as stylish staterooms with balconies, 24-hour room service, spacious public areas, luxurious spas and fitness centers, casinos, Internet and coffee cafes, miniature golf courses, children's facilities and programs – and so much more.

MSC Cruises’ combination of service and approach as well as its selection of itineraries and ships is sure to bring back memories of the “art of cruising.”

The world’s fastest-growing cruise line with the most modern fleet in the world offers guests the choice of sailing on larger ships (sailing resorts), more classic-sized ships or even the opportunity to enjoy a VIP experience with the MSC Yacht Club (on MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida) complete with butler service and complimentary beverages.

When you are on an MSC Cruises’ ship you are treated to the finest in Italian hospitality and cuisine as well as European-style entertainment that the whole family will enjoy. The ambiance coupled with the exotic destinations creates a true cultural experience.

The Italian-owned MSC Cruises has long been well-known and respected in Europe. Guests looking to get an authentic taste of Europe are invited to sail Europe the European way with MSC Cruises – from the richness of Northern Europe to the hidden treasures of the Eastern Mediterranean and the historic landmarks of the Western Mediterranean region.

Now the world’s fastest-growing cruise line with the youngest fleet of ships, MSC Cruises also offers an exciting world of tropical adventure, warmth and elegance onboard its Caribbean sailings. Guests can enjoy a cruise with an Italian/European flavor while sailing the tropical Caribbean waters and discovering an exceptional combination of bella Caribbean destinations.

Whether sailing in Europe, the Caribbean, South America, South Africa or on the new Canada/New England program which debuts in fall 2010, guests on MSC Cruises can be assured of experiencing the “art of cruising.”

For more information about MSC Cruises visit :


• Naomi Kabak
Senior Vice President
Group IST

• Guy A Young
President & CEO of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

• Larry Pimentel
President & CEO of Azamara Club Cruises

• Cdr Mark Gaouette
Maritime Security Consultant
Department of Homeland Security

• Rick Sasso
President and CEO
MSC Cruises

• Diane Moore
Windstar Cruises

• Paul Strachan
Pandaw River Cruises

• James Rodriguez
Senior Vice President, Marketing
Oceania Cruises

• Colin Stone
Managing Director
Swan Hellenic

• Mike Deegan
Managing Director
Hebridean Island Cruises

• Derek Banks
European Waterways Ltd

• Ken Carver
International Cruise Victims Association (ICV)

• Terry Dale
President and CEO
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)

• Lawrence Dessler
Executive Director
Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance (NCMA)

• Ross A Klein

• Bob Levinstein
Cruise Compete

• Alan Lewis
Grand Circle Corporation & Grand Circle Cruise Lines

• Albert Peter
Chief Executive Officer
Silversea Cruises

• Dietmar R Wertanzl
President and Chief Executive Officer
Cruise West