How MSC Cruises are improving their staff’s level of English

The story of how an international cruise line improved internal communication through English language training.

At a glance

Industry: Hospitality
Scale: 428 licenses across South America, Africa, Europe and Asia
Objective: Improve internal communication across all offices
Result (in a short 12 weeks):


The rate of engaged MSC Cruises employees completing exercises and making strides in their learning.

In detail

The challenge

“We want to increase English language fluency within our offices”

MSC Cruises had an idea – a strategy they believed would foster better internal relationships and communication between all their international offices. They wanted their staff to talk to each other in one common language, no matter where in the world they were based.
As the most widely spoken language across all their offices – and the most in-demand customer-facing language – English was the obvious choice. But the harder decision came down to choosing the right tool. They needed a cost-effective solution that would train the many, not the few, and across a number of locations.

The solution

“Busuu offers great value, from both a financial and effort point of view”

After trialling other solutions with mixed success, MSC Cruises found Busuu – a digital learning experience not only designed to rival immersion in another country, but to implement on an international scale, within their budget.
Unlike other online courses they had tried, Busuu helped their staff put everything they’d learned to the test. Thanks to our Conversations feature, MSC Cruises’ employees could have their exercises evaluated by native speakers.

The implementation

“The app is not only super easy to use, but [it] makes language learning truly entertaining”

They started out small in 2018, with a two-and-a-half-month trial period. Fifty licenses were awarded to staff across Geneva and Argentina, who, upon application, demonstrated the greatest enthusiasm and business case for learning English. After a stress-free implementation process and positive employee feedback, MSC Cruises scaled their training efforts.

Within weeks, the jump to 428 licenses across South America, South Africa, Europe and Asia saw learners sailing from one proficiency level to the next. Employees loved how easy it was to learn on their business trips and commute with Offline Mode – an enthusiasm that showed in the results.

As the weeks went by, Busuu continued to meet and exceed their employees’ expectations. As MSC Cruises’ Corporate L&D Manager Anna Matthews said, “the interest in Busuu within our company has been unprecedented – we ended up having double the amount of active learners compared to the amount we had initially expected.”

With staff boasting significant improvements in their comprehension of the English spoken inside and outside of the office, MSC Cruises are now reaping the benefits of what a strong, capable and unified workforce can bring.

*All quotes are words from Anna Matthews, Corporate L&D Manager - Global, MSC Cruises.

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