MSC Cruises has taken delivery of its new flagship MSC Seaside at the Fincantieri shipyard.
It is the second new MSC ship to come into service in 2017 and will homeport in Miami for Caribbean itineraries. It is the first in MSC’s Seaside Class.
MSC Seaside weighs 169,380 tonnes and can take 5,179 passengers.
At the ceremony, in Italy, MSC Cruises and Fincantieri also signed firm orders for the €1.8 billion construction of two Seaside EVO ships.
MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “MSC Seaside coming into service marks another key milestone in the history and future of our company, but she also embodies a pivotal moment for the industry. In fact, she is the first ship of the fifth new prototype that we bring into service and introduces a wholly-innovative product that sets a new standard for the industry to follow.
“The Seaside Class of ships is designed to bring guests closer to the sea and to operate in sunny waters while continuing to push the boundaries of maritime and guest-centric technology.”
Italian president Sergio Mattarella and Graziano Delrio, Italy’s minister of infrastructures and transports were among the dignitaries at the ceremony.
MSC Seaside’s sister ship MSC Seaview will come into service in June 2018, starting her summer season in the Mediterranean. At the delivery ceremony, Vago also announced that MSC Seaview will be christened in Civitavecchia, Italy, on June 2, 2018.
He added: “As we are nearing the end of 2017, we can look back on a year when we enjoyed unprecedented capacity growth. With two of the more innovative new ships in the industry have come into service in the past six months and now with the addition of two Seaside EVO ships to our investment plan, we are now even better positioned to further extend our global footprint. We are expecting the delivery of at least one new ship each year through 2026, with six to have come into service between 2017 and 2020.”
Giuseppe Bono, chief executive of Fincantieri, added: “We are proud to have accomplished such an important project: a ship, for a new customer, the largest one ever built in Italy. This demonstrates not only our ability to satisfy the needs of the shipowners but also the extraordinary operational level which Fincantieri has achieved.
“We believe we have built a highly innovative ship with MSC. She marks a further technological quality leap. Such a milestone has allowed us to gain the customer’s loyalty with another order for two new ships, which will [again] represent a real evolution.”
In total, 12 new MSC ships are to be built by 2026, for an overall investment of €10.5 billion.