MSC Cruises is to add two more cruise ships to its new Meraviglia class after extending its existing contract with STX France to cover four newbuilds.
To be delivered in October 2019 and September 2020, the two Meraviglia-Plus newbuilds will be longer than the Meraviglia ships at 331 metres long and will feature an additional 200 cabins, enabling them to accommodate a maximum of nearly 6,300 guests.
The vessels will also have boutiques, restaurants and a 111 metre long interior promenade with an extended LED sky screen above it, which will beam out visual events and vistas to animate the walkway. MSC will also collaborate with Cirque du Soleil to co-design and install a purpose-built dining and entertainment venue for guests.
In an industry-first, the Meraviglia-Plus ships will also feature a classic and contemporary fine art museum, which will showcase artwork from some of the world’s premier cultural centres, classic and modern art museums as well as public and private institutions. Like the Meraviglia ships, the new Meraviglia-Plus vessels will also be equipped with guest- and crew-facing technology from Samsung.
“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’s executive chairman. “The two Meraviglia-Plus 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.”
The two new ships will be worth €1.6 billion, bringing MSC’s investment for the two Meraviglia-class and the two Meraviglia-Plus ships to a total of €3 billion.
“This order extends a unique and remarkable partnership that we have built with MSC Cruises over the years that we have been constructing their ships,” said Laurent Castaing, president of STX France. “The proof lies in the quality of our relationship with a discerning client that trusts us and by the experience during the projects by our respective teams, who have learned to innovate together to give the MSC Cruises fleet outstanding levels of modernity, performance and safety. We are very proud to contribute to the development and success of our client, whose ambitions have already made them one of the world's leading ship owners.”
MSC’s news was revealed during the coin ceremony for MSC Meraviglia, which took place at the STX France yard in Saint-Nazaire, France on 1 February. During the ceremony, Vago also said that the ship will be christened in Le Havre, France on 1 June 2017.
“Standing here at the STX France shipyard for the coin ceremony for the 11th time is a reflection of how strong our ties are with France, which is where all the ships of our current fleet were built,” said Vago. “ This makes MSC Cruises, when it comes to export contracts, the number one foreign private investor in France – having invested over €8 billion over the period - and one of the leading overall investors. For this reason, I am proud to announce that MSC Meraviglia could not but be christened in France, in the beautiful UNESCO-listed port of Le Havre on 1 June 2017. From there, it will then set forth for its inaugural season to be spent in the Mediterranean, homeporting in another French port, Marseille.”