CHINA. MSC Cruises has completed the retail refurbishment of MSC Splendida in readiness for the vessel’s deployment in China in April 2018. The company has boosted retail space by +50% to 800sq m and added a wider selection of product categories.

MSC Cruises Corporate Head of Retail Adrian Pittaway told The Moodie Davitt Report: “We have a completely transformed shopping experience with more space, an extensive luxury shopping area, one of the biggest cosmetics stores at sea, new watches and sunglasses areas and significant enhancements of all our other categories. We are now heading east with one of the best boutique offerings anywhere at sea.”

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When MSC Splendida arrives in Asia in April it will homeport in Shanghai but will also operate out of Yokohama, spending some shoulder seasons in Japan. It joins one other ship, MSC Lirica, which is also deployed in China.

“Shopping… the most important leisure activity onboard”

The expanded retail offer – which includes new fashion watches, fashion jewellery and sunglasses areas – is geared closely to the tastes of the Chinese. Pittaway added. “Our two years of retail experience in China has meant we have adapted all elements of the ship for China passengers. For them, shopping is the most important leisure activity onboard, so adaptation is important,” he said.

A luxury timepieces offer is among the highlights of the new 800sq m retail space (above) while (below) Furla and Coccinelle add variety to the accessories mix

This adjustment covers space allocation, brand representation, brand choice, as well as in-store passenger flow. Pittaway said that retail entertainment space, and adjacencies to other important parts of the ship had also been taken into consideration.

A vital aspect of the revamp was to introduce brands with more mainstream appeal, such as Furla and Coccinelle. Pittaway commented: “An important part of the development is a deliberate move not to just target luxury but also cater to new growth in the middle tier of Chinese consumer spending.”

The MSC Splendida builds on MSC Cruises’ growing presence in the Asian market