MSC Cruises has signed a contract ordering one ship and taking out an option for another. The confirmed buy is the fifth ship order for the line.
The cruise line, which has its North American headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, said its contract with Chantiers de l'Atlantique is for a Panamax ship. The new ship is to be delivered in March 2008.
MSC Cruises already had contracts with Chantiers de l'Atlantique to build two Panamax and two post-Panamax vessels
. Post-Panamax ships are too large to fit through the canal.
The latest addition and option are for vessels in the same class as the 89,600-ton MSC Musica, due for its inaugural sailing July 1.
MSC Orchestra, the second Panamax ship, is scheduled to join the fleet in 2007.
Like its sister ships, MSC Musica and MSC Orchestra, the newbuild is to be able to carry 2,500 passengers and have more than 242,000 square feet of public areas. Of staterooms, 85 percent are to be outside accommodations and 65 percent are to have balconies.
The line's two contracted post-Panamax newbuilds are MSC Fantasia and MSC Serenata.
The fifth new order is to increase the line's fleet to 12 ships by 2009. In 2002, the line had just three ships in service.
MSC Cruises has a long-standing relationship with Chantiers de l'Atlantique, which has produced four vessels in the line's current fleet: MSC Lirica, MSC Armonia, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Opera. The other three current ships are MSC Melody, MSC Rhapsody and MSC Monterey ,
Source: S. Florida Business Journal