Shipbuilder STX France hosted a coin ceremony for MSC Bellissima as well as the cutting of first steel for the MSC Cruises’ first Meraviglia-Plus class ship, representing construction milestones for two of the cruise line’s four new ships simultaneously under construction. The other two vessels, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, are currently being built at Fincantieri in Italy.
The MSC Cruises newbuilds are part of the company’s 10-year, nearly $10 billion investment plan, under which six of 11 new ships will have come into service between June 2017 and November 2020, doubling MSC Cruises’ fleet capacity over the course of 3.5 years.
At the steel-cutting ceremony, Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, revealed the name of the first Meraviglia-Plus ship will be MSC Grandiosa: “The Meraviglia generation of ships is already setting a new standard for the cruise industry and is just one of the three brand new prototypes that we have designed to bring the cruise guest experience to the next level. MSC Grandiosa is named to signify magnificence and grandeur, a fitting name for this even richer, ultra-modern mega-ship.”
“These ships will be once again at the forefront of environmental technology
at sea. In fact, amongst other innovations, they will feature the latest hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, SCR-Catalysts, state-of-the-art waste management and recycling capabilities, emission-reducing energy and heat recovery systems and highly advanced wastewater treatment
,” Vago said.
The second part of the proceedings was the traditional coin ceremony for MSC Bellissima. The two mega-ships — MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa — are due to come into service in March 2019 and November 2019, respectively.
“Today as we celebrate a cutting of the first steel and then a keel laying in the same day, we are living an unprecedented experience that marks the beginning of a new era, both for our client and for our yard,” said Laurent Castaing, general manager of STX France. “For MSC Cruises, it is the realization of an extraordinary investment plan, which will elevate the company to become one of the three largest players in the global cruise industry; for us, it is the illustration of our very healthy order book, which leads us to deliver two ships a year until 2022.”
The Meraviglia-Plus ships are a further evolution and enrichment of the Meraviglia prototype, which includes MSC Meraviglia, launched in June 2017, as well as MSC Bellissima. They feature 181,000 GRT’s, 1,086 ft. in length and maximum capacity of 6,334 guests.
In June 2017, MSC Cruises launched MSC Meraviglia in Le Havre France, and will welcome MSC Seaside to Miami in December. In June 2018, MSC Seaview will join the ultra-modern fleet.