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MSC Cruises shows faith in buoyant sector with new orders

The global cruise industry still has significant potential for growth, the chief executive of one of the world's largest cruise ship companies told CNBC on Wednesday, as the firm confirmed orders for four new ships.

Swiss-based MSC Cruises said the 4 billion euro ($4.5 billion) order was for up to four new LNG-powered ships, the first of which is to be delivered in 2022.

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises said the group had seen a clear increase in demand in the last few years.

MSC Opera cruise is seen after her arrival to Havana harbor on December 18, 2015
ANA RODRIGUEZ | AFP | Getty Images
MSC Opera cruise is seen after her arrival to Havana harbor on December 18, 2015

Tour operators - such as those that organize package holidays - have seen no growth since 2008, Vago said, but the cruise industry had seen a spike in demand of up to 50 percent between 2008-2012, according to Vago.

"Today the cruise industry in Europe gives us 6.5 million passengers (for 2015)," Vago said. "So there is still big potential for growth."

As ships get bigger, consumers get more bang for their buck, he said. It also helps the firm target more segments of the population.

The company has also extended its long-term investment plan. "Our ten-plus year investment plan now encompasses up to eleven new MSC Cruises ships, coming into service between 2017 and 2026."

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