Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)has given the go-ahead for construction of a new generation of ships by signing an order with Alstom Marine for two cruise ships and the option for a third sister ship. The first of the new ships will be delivered in June 2006, and the second will become ready in spring 2007.
MSC Crociere is thus continuing to expand its fleet, and getting ready to tackle the 2004 Mediterranean season as the true leader of cruises. The new order carries the only totally Italian company into the world cruise scene, presenting itself on the market with an increasingly satisfactory and competitive fleet: 3 ships up until 2002, 4 in 2003, 5 in 2004 and the new order that increases the number of ships to 7 by 2007, with an eighth ship as option.
“The announcement of the new orders falls within the evolutionary process that MSC Crociere initiated with its purchase of MSC Lirica and MSC Opera, which will be christened at the end of June 2004 - the big event of the 2004 cruise season,” stated MSC Crociere Managing Director Pier Francesco Vago. “It is a course that envisages that the fleet will grow to such an extent as to reach economies of scale dimensions within the short term. The determining factors that prompted us to sign with Alstom Marine were the extremely interesting investment in the context of the quality to price ratio and the specific structural and engineering features of the new ships. Characterized by cutting edge technologies and innovative design, they will be the fruit of the combined experience of MSC and Alstom, each for its own industrial sector.”
With a length of 294 m, a width of 32.2 m and 1275 cabins, the new ships boast an absolutely innovative design and highly competitive sizes and speeds, and are in conformity with the Panamax standard. The view of the sea is one of the strong points of their conception, as proven by 80% of the cabins being on the exterior of the ship, three-quarters of which are fitted with balconies. The ships will have capacities of approximately 3000 passengers and 1000 crewmembers. They are planned to be used for the Mediterranean and Caribbean cruise market.
At the time of signing the order, Alstom Marine CEO Patrick Boissier said, “We are particularly proud that MSC decided to place its confidence in us for the construction of two new large ships, and we are happy we are in this way able to contribute to the success of our customer in the cruise market. From our point of view, this order represents the result of the fruitful relationships our two companies have established over the past three years. On the other hand, it consolidates Alstom Marine’s positioning in the cruise ship market, destined to register significant growth in the medium and long terms.”
Alstom Marine built the latest two ships that joined the MSC Crociere fleet: MSC Lirica, delivered in March 2003, and MSC Opera, which will be delivered in May 2004.