MSC Cruises, the 4th largest cruise line, confirmed the existing STX France options to build an additional two ships in the Meraviglia class.
The ships, valued by MSC at $1.7 billion, will be longer and bigger versions of the Meraviglia-class ship, which is scheduled to begin with the 167,600-gross-ton MSC Meraviglia in 2017.
MSC now has four firm orders on the books from STX France, plus another three ships at Fincantieri.
Furthermore, the two new next-generation ships known as Meraviglia-Plus will feature increased tonnage and overall size, totaling 2,444 staterooms and a double occupancy of 4,888 guests.
MSC Cruises now has seven cruise ships on order with two of those vessels (MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside) currently under construction. The ships are scheduled to be delivered in late 2019 and in early 2020.
"These are the biggest cruise ships yet built by a European operator – each using around 35,000 tons of steel," the company said in a statement.
A second ship (out of four) debuts in early 2019. The two new ships will now be completed respectively in October 2019 and September 2020, thus delivering the last of the now four Meraviglia STX France made-ships two years earlier than expected.
A first for the industry, the two Meraviglia-Plus ships will feature the only classic and contemporary fine art museum at sea. The cruise line made the announcement in Saint-Nazaire, France at STX France during a traditional, centuries-old coin ceremony held to showcase the progress made on the work of MSC Meraviglia, which will come into service in June 2017.
“Our long-standing cooperation with STX-France and the continued growth of our business allows me today to confirm well-ahead of time the existing options for two additional ships,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman.
“The vessels will be even larger and longer as well as richer in features and amenities, thus confirming MSC Cruises as the industry’s boldest innovator when it comes to ship design and experiences we create for our guests.”
STX France is 66 percent owned by South Korea's STX Corp and 33 percent owned by the French state, according to STX France's website.