MSC Cruises just announced a number of new updates to its ambitious fleet expansion program. At a flag ceremony to celebrate the official delivery of the new MSC Meraviglia, the cruise line confirmed its order for four new World Class ships, and announced additional design details of the new World Class.
The flag ceremony for the MSC Meraviglia, the first in MSC’s Meraviglia class of ships, took place at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The event comes just before the ship’s official christening, which is set for Saturday, June 3.
At the flag ceremony, which was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and other high-level dignitaries from the French government, the shipyard’s pennant and the French flag were lowered, accompanied by the French national anthem, before Laurent Castaing, CEO of STX France, formally handed the ship over to MSC Cruises’ owner Gianluigi Aponte. Aponte then gave command of MSC Meraviglia to Master Raffaele Pontecorvo before the ship’s flag and MSC Cruises’ pennant were raised. Zoe Africa Vago, daughter of MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman and Alexa Aponte-Vago, MSC Group’s CFO, acted as the ship’s godmother and cut the ribbon.
Following the June 3 christening ceremony the MSC Meraviglia will begin its inaugural cruise season in the Mediterranean.
New Details on World Class
Also at the ceremony MSC Cruises confirmed its order with STX France for two more cruise ships in another new class of ships for the line, the World Class, with an option for two more.
MSC Cruises also announced additional details on the new class of ships, including that the ships will be powered by a new generation of environmentally friendly liquid natural gas (LNG) engines. They will also have a new generation waste water treatment system.
Other World Class amenities will include 2,760 staterooms for a maximum occupancy of 6,850 guests, which MSC said is the highest passenger capacity in the global cruise fleet. The ships will have a “Y” shape structure that the cruise line said will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships will also have G-shaped bows, vertically positioned at a 90 degree angle, in order to improve stability. The ships will also incorporate family-friendly villages, a panoramic aft, and a glass pool lounge.
The developments are the latest in MSC Cruises’ big fleet expansion that’s set to debut over the next several years. By late 2019 MSC Cruises will have three ships sailing from PortMiami: the MSC Meraviglia, the MSC Divina (which is currently homeporting there) and the new MSC Seaside, which is set to launch later this year. In all a $10.2 billion investment plan by the line will see 11 new next-generation cruise ships come into service by 2026, including four Meraviglia- and Meravilgia Plus-class ships, three new Seaside-class ships, and four ships in the new World Class, which are set to begin sailing in 2022.