The creator of
"It will be in one of the most premium areas of the ship, which is the upper deck," MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said in a exclusive interview. "It will (cater to) higher-end customers looking for a very classic experience."
Scheduled to debut in December 2017, the 4,140-passenger Seaside is the first of a new class of vessel at MSC that is designed to expand the Europe-based
line's global reach. It's scheduled to sail year-round to the
Onorato said the as-yet-unnamed Yamaguchi restaurant will serve the
There also will be a more informal Yamaguchi eatery in the same area with about 100 seats that will serve sushi, sashimi and other Japanese items as well as other Asian dishes, Onorato said.
Yamaguchi also will be working with the line on signature dishes that can be served in the ship's main dining room, he said.
Onorato said the partnership with globally-known Yamaguchi fits into Switzerland-based MSC's strategy to be a global brand with appeal to vacationers from around the world. While it's owned by an Italian family and has long been most prominent in Europe, MSC now draws customers from 150 countries.
"It will be a representation of this global aspect of our brand," he said. "We are not anymore an Italian company."
The choice of Yamaguchi also ties into the line's effort to target Americans, specifically, with the Seaside. While he operates restaurants as far away as Japan and Guam, most of Yamaguchi's restaurant empire is focused on the continental USA, where he operates 20 eateries. He has another six in Hawaii.
"He is very well known in the United States," Onorato noted.
Onorato said Yamaguchi will be heavily involved in designing every aspect of the new eateries on Seaside from the ambiance of the space to the chinaware to the wine that is paired with his dishes. Yamaguchi even is picking out the paper stock to be used for the menus, he said.