MARCH 19, 2015—The 5,300-passenger MSC Seaside will be the name of the first of two new 154,000-gross ton ships set to sail year-round from the Port of Miami starting in 2017 for MSC Cruises.
The MSC Seaside, along with a sister vessel, are being built by Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard, and are part of an MSC Cruises’ $5.3 billion newbuild expansion that will double the cruise line’s capacity by 2022. MSC Cruises holds an option to build a third Seaside Class ship.
Following its delivery in November 217, the 1,059 ft x 134 ft MSC Seaside will sail to Miami for MSC Cruises' first ever christening ceremony in the U.S. in late 2017. The second ship will be delivered in May 2018. The optional third ship would be delivered in 2021.
The Seaside Class is not as large as MSC Cruises’ Project Vista ships, which will be 167,000 gross tons, carrying 5,700 passengers. Those ships will be built at STX in France and delivered in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2022.
"The Seaside class of ships is part of MSC Cruises' $5.3 billion fleet expansion plan that will allow the company to double its capacity by 2022," says MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato. Ornato says the new class of ships demonstrates the company’s “enthusiasm and long-term commitment to continuing to expand [its] presence in North America."
At 154,000 gross tons, the MSC Seaside will be the largest cruise ship ever built by Fincantieri shipyards.
Plans call for the ship to offer North American guests a “Mediterranean Style Cruise” experience. "Since bringing MSC Divina to Miami in November 2013, we've seen significant demand from consumers in the product, excellent support from our travel agent partners and the growing need for additional MSC Cruises' ships in the market," says Ornato.
Wet and wild
If you like water parks, then you’re going to love the MSC Seaside because it will have an “interactive” aqua park that will combine the elements of video gaming with five water slides designed by WhiteWater West Industries of Canada.
One of the wet and wild offerings aboard the MSC Seaside is "Slideboarding,” in which guests soar down 367-foot-long waterslide on specially designed rafts that have game controllers to compete and score points.
There will be additional water park games for adults, teens, and toddlers.
Directly connected to the aqua park is the Adventure Trail, a ropes course which allows guests to cross-cross between soaring towers, rope bridges, climbs, crawl-throughs and slides as they enjoy an amazing bird's eye view of the water.
MSC Cruises operates a fleet of 12 modern ships cruising year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in the French Antilles, northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, South Africa, South America, as well as in Dubai, the Emirates and Oman. The company currently sails seasonally in the Caribbean but will sail year-round in the region as of 2017.
The company, which grew by 800 percent since 2004, carried 1.67 million guests in 2014 and reported strong financial results with a turnover of $1.5 billion. In addition, MSC Cruises is forecasting an additional 10 percent growth for 2015.