APRIL 20, 2015 — MSC Cruises, the world's largest privately-owned cruise company, today marked a milestone in its $5.4 billion growth plan with the cutting of first steel for the first of two new Vista generation mega cruise ships on order at the STX France Saint-Nazaire shipyard.
At the steel-cutting ceremony, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago revealed that the 4,500 guest (double occupancy), 167,600-GRT ship will be named MSC Meraviglia, an Italian an Italian word that translates into English as "marvel," "wonder," "amazement," or "astonishment. "
Delivery from the shipbuilder is set for May 2017 and bookings will be open from June 2015. The vessel will spend her first summer sailing the western Mediterranean, and will be the first to have three homeports: Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona.
"MSC Meraviglia will be the biggest and most innovative cruise ship ever built by a global European-based cruise line," said Mr. Vago, "We chose a name that denotes the sense of awe and wonderment felt when you experience the ship's stunning features, which only an MSC cruise, with its unique Mediterranean-style, can deliver. MSC Meraviglia brings together the industry knowhow of MSC Cruises, a young, bold company built upon 300 years of seafaring tradition and the expertise of one of the most advanced shipyards in the world. Today, building started on a true maritime marvel."
"Since March 2014, more than 400 people from our various teams have been working tirelessly to define the special features of a ship that, I am certain will set the standard for its generation," said STX France General Manager Laurent Castaing. "This extraordinary project is testament to MSC Cruises' visionary approach, and we are proud to collaborate with them through our capacity for innovation and know-how."
"This steel-cutting event marks a decisive milestone in the company's development plan, one that will see MSC Cruises double its capacity by 2022 through up to seven new ships and a $5.4 billion investment plan," said Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises Chief Executive Officer. "MSC Meraviglia will be one of the greenest and safest ships in the industry, as well as one of the most technologically advanced. We are thrilled that in just a few weeks guests can start booking this truly remarkable ship, which will bring cruise travellers to the most exciting destinations around the world in outstanding comfort and style."
Described as "designed for unrivaled agility", MSC Meraviglia and the other upcoming Vista project ships will, says MSC Cruises "be perfectly able to call at any cruise port in the world, meaning guests from around the world will now be able to explore more of the best destinations on one of MSC Cruises' next generation ships." By cruise ports, the line presumably means those big enough to take a 167,600 grt ship.
Among the ships' features will be "cluster cabins" for families, and an extended MSC Yacht Club, the self-contained luxury area on the foredecks, which will be enhanced with duplex suites, a vast solarium and a private lounge and restaurant.
MSC Meraviglia will feature technological advances, such as "Near Field Communication" technology, enabling guests to do things like make onboard payments, access their staterooms or geo-locate children, using their cruise card, bracelet or smartphone.
Another spectacular feature will be a 5,167 square foot LED screen, which forms the entire ceiling of the ship's interior promenade. Like a digital sky, this LED image vault will beam out images and vistas day and night – including scheduled visual events.
MSC Meraviglia is the first of two identical ships on order from STX France, the second of which will be entered in to service in 2019. In addition, MSC Cruises has options for two further Vista project ships to be delivered by 2022.
The Vista project is the result of a lengthy development process under STX's ECORIZON program to create cleaner, smarter, more efficient ships. They will be water emission free, and their hulls and propulsion systems will be optimized for extreme energy efficiency. Scrubber technology will neutralize fumes and CO2 emissions in accordance with the latest international maritime regulations. In addition, the ship is fully compliant with the Safe return to Port requirement.