Who Owns MSC Cruises?

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Most cruise lines are owned by large parent companies. If you find it tricky to keep track of which company owns which cruise line, you’re not alone!

The world’s largest cruise company is Carnival Corporation. It owns nine brands including P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Cunard. Then, we have the Royal Caribbean Group which owns not only Royal Caribbean International, but also brands like Celebrity Cruises and Silversea.

But what about MSC Cruises? Who owns MSC Cruises, and what other cruise brands do they own?

Read on for some super-interesting insights into the company behind the MSC Cruises brand…

MSC Cruises ship
MSC Seaside in Nassau

Who Are MSC Cruises?

MSC Cruises is a global cruise line based in Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded in Naples, Italy in 1989. MSC Cruises employs over 30,000 people and has 19 cruise ships, making it the fastest-growing global cruise brand.

Suggested read: MSC Cruises Ships by Size, Age and Class

MSC Cruises is part of the Mediterranean Shipping Compan S.A. (MSC) – the world’s second-largest container shipping operator with 570 container ships.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company has the following divisions:

  • MSC Cruises – Holiday cruises
  • Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) – Cargo shipping
  • Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV) – Ferries
  • Società Navigazione Alta Velocità (SNAV) – Ferries
  • MSC Shipmanagement Limited – Onboard and shoreside crew
  • Terminal Investment Limited (TIL) – Port operations
  • MEDLOG – Inland logistics

Who Owns MSC Cruises?

MSC Cruises is owned by Italian billionaire Gianluigi Aponte and his family, including wife Rafaela, son Diego and daughter Alexa. Gianluigi Aponte is the founder, chairman, and MSC Cruises owner, while his family member all have key roles in the business.

Gianluigi Aponte - MSC Cruises founder, owner and chairman
Gianluigi Aponte
Photo credit: Rcdsouza19CC BY-SA 4.0

With a net worth of around $17.7 billion in 2022, Gianluigi and Rafaela Aponte are some of the richest people in the shipping industry and the 94th richest people in the world according to Forbes.

Is MSC Cruises Privately Owned?

MSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company. While other cruise lines are publicly traded and owned by shareholders, MSC Cruises is privately owned by the Aponte family.

Because MSC Cruises is privately-owned, it doesn’t have stock. It’s not possible to buy shares in MSC as you can do with Carnival, Royal Caribbean or Norwegian Cruise Line.

Who is the CEO of MSC Cruises?

The CEO of MSC Cruises is Gianni Onorato, an Italian with 30 years of experience in the cruise industry. He has been the CEO of MSC Cruises since 2013. Prior to that, he was the president of Costa Cruises from 2004 to 2013.

What Does MSC Cruises Stand For?

The ‘MSC’ in MSC Cruises stands for Mediterranean Shipping Company. This is because the MSC Cruises brand is part of the same shipping company that transports cargo around the world.

MSC shipping container in Southampton
Shipping containers in Southampton – Can you spot the MSC one?

MSC Cruises History Timeline

MSC Cruises was founded in 1988. However, the Aponte family’s involvement in the shipping industry dates back much further. Take a look at the timeline below to learn about the history of MSC Cruises…

  • 1675 First record of the Aponte family’s involvement in shipping to and from Naples
  • 1970 – Gianluigi Aponte purchases a single ship and founds the Mediterranean Shipping Company
  • 1988 – MSC enters the cruise business with the purchase of the first cruise ship, Monterey
  • 2003 – MSC Cruises invests €5.5 billion on12 new ships to build the world’s most modern fleet of cruise ships
  • 2014 – MSC Cruises invests €5.1 billion on seven new cruise ships and the enlargement of four existing ships
  • 2016 – A further €3.9 billion is invested to build four World-class ships
  • 2017 – A further €2.6 billion is invested to build three more ships
  • 2019 – MSC Cruises’ private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, welcomes its first guests
  • 2020 – MSC Cruises is the first major cruise line to restart thanks to its industry-leading health and safety protocol

Fun fact: Gianluigi Aponte financed the purchase of his first cruise ship, Patricia, without a loan.

What Nationality is MSC Cruises?

MSC Cruises Cruises is an Italian cruise line that was founded in Naples, Italy in 1989 by the Italian businessman Gianluigi Aponte. The cruise line is registered in Switzerland with headquarters in Geneva and operations offices in Naples, Genoa and Venice.

MSC Cruises offers cruises all over the world. The cruise line caters to many different nationalities with many languages being spoken on board. Announcements are often made in English, Italian, French, Spanish and German. Entertainment is mainly based around music or visuals such as acrobats and dancers, rather than comedians or lecturers.

MSC Cruises FAQs

When was MSC Cruises established?

MSC Cruises was established in 1988 as a subsidiary of the larger MSC Group.

Does Royal Caribbean own MSC?

Royal Caribbean does not own MSC Cruises. While the Royal Caribbean Group owns several brands such as Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises, MSC Cruises is privately owned by an Italian family.

Is MSC owned by Carnival?

Carnival does not own MSC Cruises. While The Carnival Corporation owns several brands such as Princess Cruises and Holland Americal Line, MSC Cruises is privately owned by an Italian family.

What county is MSC Cruises from?

MSC Cruises is an Italian cruise line and was founded in Naples, Italy. The owners, the Aponte family, are Italian.


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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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7 thoughts on “Who Owns MSC Cruises?”

  1. How do I apply to work for this cruise line

  2. We have a situation here. Me and my friend (70y.o.) travel from Canada. We suppose to leave on June 26 to Bahamas and Mexico.
    But, it never happened! Because, Toronto Pearson airport kept us at the check-in 6 hours instead of 3! We couldn’t get on a plane, accordingly we couldn’t make it to the cruise on time! Please, help us to solve this problem! This is our first cruise trip ever!

  3. MSC owes me some money. When I booked my trip I pay in full, now they owed me money and they are giving me little at a time. I would like for some one to get in touch with me. My trip was canceled by your company not my false. Please I need my money.

    • Did you find someone who was able to get all of your money back? I cancelled in June due to covid. My companions got their money back on their credit card. For some reason, MSC did not re-imburse on our credit card. They said they would send a check. We have been waiting 3 month for our money. Needless to say, we will not use MSC again

  4. This will be are first cruise. I was wondering if Royal Caribbean Cruise line credit card can be used on other cruise ships?
    Thank you

    • Hi Ruth. Yes, I believe it can ve used with Celebrity Cruises as that’s part of the Royal Caribbean group. Jenni

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