MSC Cruises Plans to Build World’s Largest LNG-Powered Cruise Ships for $4.5 Billion

Laurent Castaing (R), President of French shipyard STX France, shakes hands with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Chairman Gianluigi Aponte (L) as French President Francois Hollande (C) looks on after signing a letter of intention for the order of four more ships from STX France in a 3.6 billion euro ($4.1 billion) investment, during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Laurent Castaing (R), President of French shipyard STX France, shakes hands with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Chairman Gianluigi Aponte (L) as French President Francois Hollande (C) looks on after signing a letter of intention for the order of four more ships from STX France, April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Swiss-based MSC Cruises has revealed major plans to build up to four new LNG-powered cruise ships exceeding more than 200,000 gross tons.

The announcement was made as the company, the largest privately-owned cruise line in the world, signed a letter of intent (LOI) for the construction of the ships with STX France at the company’s shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

The four ships provided under the LOI include two firm orders and two options with delivery planned in 2022, 2024, 2025 and 2026. MSC Cruises confirmed that the new order would represent a nearly $4.5 billion investment, which would bring the company’s 10-year investment plan to an “unprecedented” $10.2 billion and eleven next-generation newbuilds by 2026.

The vessel’s, to be known as the “World Class”, will be based on a new next-generation LNG-powered prototype featuring a GRT in excess of 200,000 tonnes, more than 2,700 staterooms and approximately 5,400 lower berths occupancy, making them the biggest LNG-powered cruise ships planned to date and the most environmentally friendly.

A ceremony for the signing of the letter of intent was held at the Élysée Palace in France and attended by French President Francois Hollande François Hollande, as well as MSC Group’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Gianluigi Aponte, and STX France’s CEO Laurent Castaing.

“Today’s announcement is further proof, if needed, of our view that this industry presents significant opportunities for additional growth going forward for both our brand and product, as well as of our firm commitment to be best-positioned to capture them to the fullest,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman. “For this reason, our ten-plus year investment plan now encompasses up to eleven new MSC Cruises ships, coming into service between 2017 and 2026. It is also a reflection of our constant commitment to innovation, as we will partner with STX France to design yet again a completely new prototype – already the sixth in our history.”

Including the four ships announced Wednesday, a total of 20 ships will have been designed and built by STX France in Saint-Nazaire for MSC Cruises.

MSC Splendida (Fantasia Class)

“We have just signed an unprecedented agreement with MSC Cruises which will give us a vision of our industrial capacity for the next ten years! We have had a good relationship with MSC Cruises for many years now, and this new agreement strengthens this further,” commented Laurent Castaing, STX Frances Chief Executive Officer. “We have already designed four different classes for MSC Cruises – Lirica, Musica, Fantasia and Meraviglia – each with four ships, and now we are working together on this new generation of “World Class” ships.”

MSC Cruises informs that in addition to the four ships just ordered, its current investment plan includes orders with STX France for two Meraviglia and two further Meraviglia-Plus Class ships as well as orders with Fincantieri in Italy for up to three next-generation Seaside Class ships. The plan also includes the $227 million Renaissance Program, in which four ships out of 12 of the company’s fleet were enhanced and enlarged at the Fincantieri shipyards.

MSC Cruises’ announcement follows some big cruise industry news over the weekend as Carnival Corp. finalized its contracts with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build five new cruise ships costing more than $3.4 billion. Delivery of those ships are scheduled for 2019 and 2020.

In June 2015, Carnival became the first to order ocean-going cruise ships powered by liquefied natural gas, the world’s cleanest fossil fuel, with its order for four ships. Those ships will be built by Meyer Werft and split between their yards in Papenburg, Germany and Turku, Finland. Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, currently has a total of 16 new ships scheduled to be delivered across several of its portfolio of brands between 2016 and 2020.

MSC set to Astonish with MSC Meraviglia

Report by Cruise.co.uk

A $5.4 billion growth plan marks a milestone for MSC cruises as the first steel for the new visa generation of mega ships was cut at STX France.

MSC cruises executive chairman ‘Pierfrancesco Vago’ announced the new ship would be named ‘MSC Meraviglia’ at the steel cutting ceremony in Saint-Nazaire.

Geona, Marseille and Barcelona will be the first home port stops of MSC Meraviglia’s summer sailings.

MSC Meraviglia houses an extended MSC Yacht club (a luxury area on fore decks) they offer;

  • Duplex Suites
  • Solarium
  • Private Lounge
  • Restaurant

Entertainment choices on this ship will include;

  • Panoramic spaces
  • Large theatre
  • Amusement parks linked to Aqua Park
  • Three deck interior promenade

Pierfrancesco Vago said; “MSC Meraviglia will be the biggest and most innovative cruise ship ever built by a global European-based cruise line, we chose a name that denotes the sense of awe and wonderment felt when you experience the ship’s stunning features, which only an MSC cruise, with its unique Mediterranean-style, can deliver. MSC Meraviglia brings together the industry knowhow of MSC Cruises, a young, bold company built upon 300 years of seafaring tradition and the expertise of one of the most advanced shipyards in the world. Today, building started on a true maritime marvel.”

STX France General Manager Laurent Castaing added: “Since March 2014, more than 400 people from our various teams have been working tirelessly to define the special features of a ship that, I am certain will set the standard for its generation. This extraordinary project is testament to MSC Cruises’ visionary approach, and we are proud to collaborate with them through our capacity for innovation and know-how.” 

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises Chief Executive Officer said: “This steel-cutting event marks a decisive milestone in the company’s development plan, one that will see MSC Cruises double its capacity by 2022 through up to seven new ships and a $5.4 billion investment plan.” 

He added: “MSC Meraviglia will be one of the greenest and safest ships in the industry, as well as one of the most technologically advanced. We are thrilled that in just a few weeks guests can start booking this truly remarkable ship, which will bring cruise travellers to the most exciting destinations around the world in outstanding comfort and style.”

This new ship introduces modern features to keep up with the technologic advances being introduced through many other cruiselines, MSC Meraviglia will feature new tech focused amenities such as;

Near field technology- This technology can be use with the passengers cruise card, bracelet or smartphone, making on-board payments, access to staterooms and ge-locating children a lot easier!

LED screen- But not any LED screen, a 5,167 square foot LED screen! (You won’t hear the kids nagging you for one of these any time soon- although after the trip.. maybe you will!). This screen forms the entire ceiling of the ships inside promenade, compelling images through day and night.

The ship will be the first of two identical ships on order from STX France, the second is due to start sailing in 2019. 2022 may also promise two other Vista Ship projects (But we will get back to you on that!)