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Fincantieri cuts steel for its largest ship yet

Written by Nick Blenkey
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JUNE 23, 2015 — Geneva, Switzerland, based MSC Cruises and shipbuilder Fincantieri yesterday cut the first steel for the cruise line’s next generation  MSC Seaside in a ceremony at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone, Italy, shipyard.

With a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons and the ability to accommodate up to 4,140 guests at double capacity, this new cruise ship will be the largest ship ever built by Fincantieri.

MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago  said that MSC Seaside will “revolutionize industry standards, with an audacious and innovative design that brings guests and sea closer.”

“MSC Seaside represents a key pillar in a $5.8 billion, seven-ship investment plan that will double our capacity by 2022,” said Mr. Vago .”It also steps up our investment in Italy and marks our return to a partnership with Fincantieri, which is something that makes me particularly proud. In fact, the building of the new Seaside ships as well as our other current project with Fincantieri – the $225 million Renaissance Program – are just one example of how a global organization like MSC, of which MSC Cruises is part, plays a key role in the Italian economy.”  

“MSC Seaside will be the largest ship ever built in our shipyards, as well as the first we have ever constructed for MSC Cruises, whose strength – like ours – lies in being a truly global player in its industry,” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, “This ceremony is unique for our Group and the Monfalcone shipyard.  In MSC Seaside we have developed a brand new and highly ambitious project, and we look forward to building it. In two years we will celebrate with MSC Cruises a magnificent ship of which we will all be deeply proud.”

MSC Seaside is the first of two identical ships on order from Fincantieri, the second of which will  enter service in 2018. In addition, MSC Cruises has an option for an additional Seaside generation ship to be delivered by 2021.

London based law firm Watson Farley & Williams advised long-time client MSC Cruises on the €1.2 billion (US$1.35bn), export credit agency (ECA) supported financing of the first two Seaside class newbuilds.The financing was provided by a syndicate of banks including Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, BNP Paribas, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti S.P.A., HSBC France, Banco Santander S.A and Unicredit S.P.A. as mandated lead arrangers and underwriters. CA-CIB also served as structuring agent and bookrunner. The financing was supported by Italian export credit agency Servizi Assicurativi del Commercio Estero (SACE).

MSC Seaside will be based year-round in Miami and will sail a wide range of highly appealing Caribbean itineraries. In addition, MSC Cruises’ Miami-based cruise operations – which also includes the  MSC Divina, which will sail year-round from Miami starting November 2015 – will benefit from a newly renovated and expanded dedicated berth and terminal at PortMiami, signifying the company’s strong ambitions in the North American market.

“MSC Seaside will spearhead our campaign to expand our presence in North America,” said Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises CEO, adding that “MSC Cruises has the unique opportunity to provide North American guests with an outstanding ‘Mediterranean Style Cruise’ experience, and guests from around the world a unique setting as it will sail to the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean.”

The ship is set to arrive in Miami in December 2017, where she will also be christened, marking the first time an MSC Cruises’ ship is christened in the U.S.

Sales for cruises on MSC Seaside will start approximately two years ahead of its inaugural season, to reflect the high demand for this unique product.

Large, spacious and designed for the utmost comfort, MSC Seaside will benefit from a bold design and leading-edge technology while boasting a 360 degree seafront promenade. In addition, the ship will be characterized by what is claimed will be the most interactive and originally-designed aqua park at sea with five water slides and attractions for all ages.

The ship will feature open modular connected staterooms – convertible staterooms that can accommodate up to 10 people – for families and groups, as well as luxury suites with private Jacuzzis and hanging gardens.

MSC Seaside will also offer an enhanced MSC Yacht Club with private solarium, lounge and pool. The public spaces of the ship will feature breathtaking views with a two-deck glass-walled atrium and panoramic exterior elevators. This ship will set a new standard in cruise vacations by seamlessly blending wide family offerings with distinct elegance, with a wide choice of indoor/outdoor dining and bars and beautifully designed entertainment spaces.

MSC Seaside and her sister ship will set new standards for eco-friendliness, featuring Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) systems to remove pollutants and hazardous substances from waste water; garbage treatment plants for highly efficient solid waste management; scrubbers to reduce emissions;  and optimized hull lines, propellers and rudders to reduce drag and fuel consumption.  LED lighting will reduce energy demand and significantly lower fuel consumption. Advanced heat recovery plants will be used to feed fresh water, laundry, swimming pools and  hot water.

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