The Italian cruise line has big plans for the United States and the involves competing with the biggest players in the game.
Royal Caribbean International (RCL) – Get Royal Caribbean Group Report and Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) – Get Carnival Corporation Report dominate the family cruise market in the United States by building bigger, fancier ships with activities that nobody would expect at sea. Carnival has added roller coasters to its latest ships while Royal Caribbean has ice skating rinks, bumper cars, skydiving simulators, and its signature Flowrider surf simulators.
Both cruise lines have decided that their newest ships will pack in the activities, restaurants, bars, and shows to make their ships more of a draw than wherever they might be going. The two companies have been in an arms race trying to make each ship newer and better.
That makes it a challenge for any cruise line to compete with Royal Caribbean and Carnival for family customers. New rivals like Virgin Voyages have emerged, but that cruise line has decided to compete by doing something completely different — going adults-only and forging the family business entirely.
MSC, a line that has been successful sailing in Europe. has set its sites on the U.S. market. So far, that has involved mid-size ships sailing similar Caribbean routes as Carnival and Royal Caribbean. That’s a tough way to compete for MSC when your two biggest rivals have an edge in marketing, brand awareness, and own the ships with the most bells and whistles.
Now, however, MSC has a new U.S. flagship about to set sail and it could be a game-changer.
MSC Seascape Sets Its Sights On U.S. Shores
While MSC won’t rival Carnival and Royal Caribbean when it comes to size, its upcoming U.S. flagship, Seascape seeks to deliver experiences that equal its two rivals, That includes Robotron, “a thrilling amusement ride coming to the seas for the first time and combining the breath-taking rush of a rollercoaster with personalized music and lighting.”
While it’s not a classic roller coaster like Carnival’s Bolt, which is offered on its flagship Mardi Gras and her upcoming sister ship, Celebration, it’s meant to offer a roller coaster-like experience in a very unique way. Robotron doesn’t have a track. Instead, it’s a robotic arm with an attached gondola that seats three guests – flying them nearly 175 feet above the sea.
“The adrenaline-pumping experience gives riders an unobstructed 360° view of the horizon as they hang over the edge of the deck, flip upside down, and move in all directions,” the company shared in a press release.
Robotron riders will also be able to select their desired thrill level — from family-friendly to high intensity — something you can’t do on a traditional roller coaster.
“They can also set the mood with colored lights, music preferences, and more. Coupled with the adjacent video screen, Robotron acts as a moving DJ booth, with the rhythm and bass visualized as colorful patterns and pulses of light while the robotic arm is bouncing and twisting in tempo,” MSC shared.
MSC Seeks to Rival Carnival, Royal Caribbean
Seascape represents a major departure for MSC. The cruise line sails multiple ships from U.S. ports offering an elegant, family-friendly, but not family-focused experience. Seascape will still offer the European-style dining experience offered on its other ships, but it will also amp up the thrills with more than just Robotron.
The cruise line shared some of what the ship will offer in a press release:
- VR 360° Flight Simulator: This ride offers the ultimate virtual motion experience, complete with VR headsets and impressive special effects. Guests can choose from various worlds to dive into a thrill ride like no other.
- VR Motorcycles: Guests with a need for speed will love MSC Seascape’s new VR motorcycles, where players will be transported to the racetrack with wind and water effects to complete the experience.
- MSC Formula Racer: Perfect for car racing enthusiasts ready to get their high-speed fix, this activity puts guests in the driver’s seat for a thrilling racing simulation game with realistic effects that will get their heart rates going.
- Immersive XD Cinema: The minute guests put on their 3D glasses, they dive into alternate worlds where players will battle it out against zombies, skeletons and more. Only one player can be crowned the victor, so guests will need to prove their sharp-shooting skills against each other for ultimate bragging rights.
Seascape’s first voyage will be a 17-night voyage leaving Rome on Nov. 19 with stops in Spain, Portugal, and Bermuda before arriving in New York City on Dec. 5. After a naming ceremony in New York on Dec. 7, the ship will make its way to its homeport in Miami where it will sail eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.
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This story was originally published September 5, 2022 9:33 AM.
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