MSC New Luxury Brand Closer to Launch with Big Name Exec Appointments

MSC Group has released more information about its new luxury cruise brand in a news release Wednesday and announced five senior appointments to the new division management team, led by CEO Michael Ungerer.

MSC first announced plans for a new luxury division over two years ago.

“We’re getting ready to share our vision of luxury ocean travel with our trade partners when we will present our fleet, showcase our luxury vessels’ innovative designs and demonstrate what I believe will be a best-in-class guest experience for existing and future clients,” Ungerer said.

Michael Ungerer, CEO, MSC's new luxury arm.
Michael Ungerer, CEO, MSC’s new luxury arm.

The first vessel for the new luxury brand will be delivered in 2023 from the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, with subsequent deliveries in 2024, 2025 and 2026. The first luxury ship will have a gross tonnage of 63,900 GT and feature 461 suites, all with oceanfront balconies or terraces.

The new appointments to the luxury line include:

Chris Austin, Chief Sales Officer

Chris Austin, Chief Sales Officer, MSC Cruises.

Chris was most recently SVP Global Sales and Marketing for four years at Seabourn Cruise Line. He previously worked for almost 20 years leading sales for the luxury brand portfolio at Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Sarah Doyle, Chief Marketing Officer

Sarah Doyle, Chief Marketing Officer, MSC Group.

Most recently Vice President Marketing at Bacardi Limited Europe, Sarah previously spent six years at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, where she was initially responsible for brand partnerships and then worked as Global Brand Director for W Hotels Worldwide.

Thatcher Brown, Commercial and Strategic Advisor

Thatcher Brown, Commercial and Strategic Advisor, MSC Group.

Thatcher most recently was President of Dream Cruises and Managing Director of Crystal Cruises Asia at Genting. He also worked for Fairmont Hotels and Resorts and the Jumeirah Group luxury hotel chain.

Sacha Rougier, Head of Itinerary Planning and Shore Experience

Sacha Rougier, Head of Itinerary Planning and Shore Experience, MSC Group.

Sacha was Managing Director of Cruise Gate Hamburg for nearly six years. Previously, she was Business Development Manager for five years with the Port of Marseille.

John Stoll – Destination Experience Advisor

John worked as VP Land Programs for 17 years at Crystal Cruises and was previously Director Land Programs at Silversea Cruises.

“The leaders of the new brand bring more than 100 years of combined knowledge and expertise in the luxury, hospitality and cruise sectors,” Ungerer said. “Together they will create a luxury and lifestyle travel experience as distinct as it is trailblazing, exceeding the expectations of both discerning cruisers seeking something different, those new to cruising and nextgen lux travellers curious to start.”

Anna Kroupina


Anna's day starts at 5:30 a.m. each morning to scour daily travel news headlines to find the most relevant stories for Canadian travel advisors. She contributes to writing the daily news and covers events. The Alberta Rockies, Hawaii and France's Provence region are among her favourite destinations. She's a proud cat mom and a terrible snowboarder.

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