MONFALCONE, ITALY — MSC Cruises will station a third ship in Miami starting in 2019, the company’s executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago told an audience at the Fincantieri shipyard here.
The ship will be a Meraviglia-class vessel. MSC will introduce the first ship in that class in June, when the MSC Meraviglia is christened in Le Havre, France. The 4,500-passenger ship is scheduled to sail in Europe.
Vago’s comment is the first indication that a Meraviglia class ship will sail outside of Europe.
MSC officials wouldn’t say whether the Meraviglia class ship will stay in Miami year-round or only for the winter season. Beginning this November, MSC will base two ships in Miami when the MSC Seaside arrives to join the MSC Divina, which is already sailing from Miami. MSC Seaside is expected to cruise from Miami to the Caribbean year-round.
Vago commented during an event in which two gold-plated coins were welded into a small chamber on the keel of the second Seaside-class vessel, which will be called MSC Seaview. It is scheduled to be delivered in May 2018.
MSC has orders for 11 ships, with four under construction and an additional seven due by 2026. Vago suggested more of them are headed for the North American market. “We are primed to grow well beyond what we have officially announced today,” he said.
The Seaside class boasts a distinct design with what MSC officials are describing as a “Miami condo” look to the aft, where a pool and a large promenade are located. “We wanted to turn a few heads in North America, we wanted to turn a few heads in Miami,” Vago said.
He said MSC has signed a letter of intent to base all of its Caribbean ships at in Miami. The Meraviglia-class ship includes a theater custom-designed for Cirque du Soleil, which will form part of the entertainment offering.
After the two commemorative coins, one for MSC and one for Fincantieri, were attached to the keel, a massive 600-ton crane lifted the hull section off the quay and slowly maneuvered it into position onto blocks in a subterranean construction dock, where other sections of the ship will be welded together until it is in a position to be floated out for finishing later this year.
Vago said MSC has committed to spending €2.5 billion with Fincantieri on the Seaside class, with an option for a third ship yet to be exercised.
He said that on Nov. 30, MSC will dock the ship in nearby Trieste and hold an open house so that the residents of the area can see it before it sails for Miami and a Dec. 21 christening there.