More than 40% of new ship MSC Seashore has been redesigned and enhanced as a “significant evolution and improvement” over its two sister ships.
The differences to MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview include 200 extra cabins, a larger ‘ship within a ship’ MSC Yacht Club and an additional double-deck lounge at the rear.
The latest MSC Cruises’ vessel, due to enter service in June 2021, will have 10,000 square metres of additional deck space with a 16-metre extension to 339 metres, making it the longest vessel in the fleet.
Features include 28 more terraced suites and two suites with private whirlpools.
The expanded MSC Yacht Club will include two new cabin categories – 41 deluxe grand suites and two owner’s suites with whirlpools.
A ‘cluster cabin’ concept for families – where two or three adjoining cabins can be linked to accommodate between six and ten people – will be introduced, while 75 larger cabins for disabled passengers are added.
Two new restaurants are planned alongside a new location for five speciality dining outlets to allow for al fresco waterfront seating on the ship’s boardwalk.
The interior has been redesigned with two central meeting points positioned at the middle and forward part of the ship, as well as specific measures to improve passenger flows.
MSC Seashore will have a bigger casino and 20 speciality bars.
The ship will feature a new design of its aft swimming pool, an enlarged indoor pool and a new waterpark. Clubs for young children and teenagers have been separated from a larger kids’ zone.
A range of environmental protection measures is to be installed including a selective catalytic reduction system designed to help cut nitrogen oxide by 90% through advanced active emissions control technology.
Wastewater will go through a purification and filtration process that transforms it to “near tap-water” quality.
The new-build will also be fitted with shore-to-ship power connections while in port to reduce emissions.
The details emerged at a keel-laying ceremony for the ship at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.
MSC Cruises’ executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Today’s ceremony marks another key milestone in the construction of one of our most innovative all-around ships yet.
“Most importantly, MSC Seashore – which will feature the latest and most advanced environmental technology currently available – represents another proof of our long-standing commitment to preserving the environment in our ongoing journey to minimise and continuously reduce the impact of our operations.”
Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono added: “The beginning of drydock works of MSC Seashore, the largest ship so far built in Italy, is for us a source of great satisfaction.
“It is a real challenge in terms of structural and managerial aspects, which powers the impressive workload for the shipyard and the local area.”
Venice has taken a huge step toward banning large cruise ships from entering the crowded grand canal through its historic city centre just months after a cruise liner smashed into a riverboat and dock and a week after city officials asked other European cruise destinations to join in its effort to curb cruise ship visits.
The Italian government announced that it will begin to gradually reroute the ships away from the city centre starting next month.
By next year, at least one-third of the ships visiting Venice are expected to call at ports closer to the Italian mainland but still inside the lagoon, including the Fusina and Lombardia terminals.
Italy’s minister of transport Danilo Toninelli said the ultimate goal was “to avoid witnessing more invasions of the Giudecca by these floating palaces, with the scandals and risks that they bring,” via the Financial Times.
“Starting now, we will decrease the number of liners passing by Giudecca and San Marco, particularly the bigger ones,” he added during a transport committee hearing. “The aim is to reroute about one-third of the cruise ships already booked on Venice towards new berths by 2020. We’ve been talking about big ships for 15 years and nothing has been done. These floating palaces will start to go elsewhere.”
Officials plan to consult the public before determining a new location for cruise ships to dock in the long-term future.
“Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) cruise lines have been actively engaged in discussions for a considerable time about using the Vittoria Emanuele Canal as the preferred alternative solution,” said Andy Harmer, CLIA’s U.K. and Ireland director, in a statement. “We have been cooperative in simulations and studies that supported the Comitatone recommendation. CLIA urges all parties in Venice to reach a conclusion to start the preparation work to prepare the Vittoria Emanuele Canal so we can begin to reroute the larger ships.”
“The cruise industry has worked diligently with the Mayor of Venice, the Veneto Region, the Port Authority and many others to find viable solutions to allow larger cruise ships to access the Marittima berths without transiting the Giudecca Canal and we are in agreement with the solution developed by Comitatone in 2017 to utilize the Vittorio Emanuele Canal as the best and most prudent means to move larger cruise ships away from the Giudecca,” he added. “CLIA cruise line members welcome and will support the urgent implementation of this solution.”
Venice has been struggling with over-tourism for several years now with as many as 30 million visitors passing through each year.
“The growing size of vessels, their environmental impacts on the areas surrounding the ports and the ‘burden’ that the increasing number of tourists…are creating a situation of conflict,” Pino Musolino, chairman of the northern Adriatic Sea port authority, wrote in a recent letter to eight fellow port authorities.
Desperate officials have even called on UNESCO to add Venice to the World Heritage site blacklist of endangered destinations.