MSC Cruises unveils plans to build fifth Meraviglia class vessel

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MSC Meraviglia

MSC Cruises aggressive fleet expansions plans are set to continue after the brand revealed plans to build a fifth Meraviglia-class vessel.

The line announced its decision to build a ship, due to be delivered in 2023, during a ceremony today (June 14) at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard in STX France.

The vessel will be the 13th ship to be built during MSC Cruises’ 10-year investment plan which will see the line double its capacity by 2020 and more than triple it by 2026.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman, said: “Our fifth Meraviglia-class cruise ship will bring a new generation of cutting-edge environmental technology to the market, benefiting from a new generation of LNG-powered engines.

“This will help us further reduce our environmental footprint and advance in our journey of constant improvement.”

The line also revealed at the event that the fourth Meraviglia-class vessel would be called MSC Virtuosa, which underwent its steel cutting ceremony today.

For the first time in Saint-Nazaire’s history, three cruise ships belonging to a single cruise brand are under simultaneous construction at the shipyard.

MSC’s agreement with STX France to add another ship to its order book represents an investment of €900 million.

Thursday’s event was held to mark three shipbuilding milestones: the steel cutting ceremony of the fourth Meraviglia class vessel, the coin ceremony of MSC Grandiosa and the float of MSC Bellissima.

MSC Bellissima will be christened at a ceremony in Southampton on March 2 2019.

The event will be attended by more than 2,000 guests, including VIPs and important British stakeholders.

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MSC Cruises Officially Receives MSC Meraviglia

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MSC Meraviglia

 MSC Cruises officially took delivery of MSC Meraviglia.

During the ship’s flag ceremony, the ship received her official flag and blessings for good fortune. The ceremony was attended by Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic and other high-level dignitaries from the French government.

MSC Cruises said it estimates that its total investment at STX France from 2003 to 2020 will amount to over 7 billion euros, effectively making the company the country’s number one foreign private investor.

Following her christening ceremony, which will take place in Le Havre on June 3, MSC Meraviglia will start her inaugural season sailing the Western Mediterranean.

“MSC Meraviglia’s coming into service marks a key milestone in the history and future of our Company,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises. “She represents the first realization of our long-term vision for further significant growth, which, in its first phase, culminated with MSC Cruises becoming two years ago the number one cruise brand across all of Europe, while on its way to further global growth.”

“Above all, we must celebrate the work of everyone: from all the workers of our partner STX France to MSC Cruises’ New Builds Team, each and every supplier and sub-supplier who has contributed to turning our vision into reality as well as everyone at MSC who has worked ashore and on board on this amazing project. A galvanized team of up to 3,000 workers a month and over 400 suppliers, built over the past three years the largest and most technologically advanced cruise ship ever constructed by a European ship owner. This is worth celebrating!” added Vago.

Marcon at STX France

“Delivering a ship is always a time of great emotion for the shipyard: it is the culmination of three years of intense work for our employees and those of our partners, who have spared no effort to deliver on the exact date and in the quality conditions desired by our client MSC Cruises, this first ship of the Meraviglia class,” said Laurent Castaing, CEO of STX France. “Benefiting from our advances in R&D from the “Ship of the Future” program supported by ADEME, this prototype is a great achievement that we can all be proud of and which allows us to look confidently at the next three ships.”

During today’s flag ceremony, 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.

The honor of cutting the ribbon fell to the ceremony’s godmother, Zoe Africa Vago, daughter of MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman and Alexa Aponte-Vago, MSC Group’s CFO. After the traditional breaking of the bottle of champagne, three blasts from the ship’s siren signaled the end of the ceremony.

MSC Cruises Finalizes Two-Ship Construction Contract with STX France

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STX France and MSC Cruises have announced they have finalized the contracts for two new 177,000-ton cruise ships for MSC.

The two next-generation ships will be the largest ever built for a European cruise line.

Delivery is scheduled for 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The ships will be known as the “Meraviglia-Plus” class, an evolution of the smaller 167,000 GRT “Meraviglia” class. The first of two “Meraviglia” ships are scheduled to enter into service in June 2017. The will have capacity for 6,300 passengers in 2,450 cabins.

“I am extremely pleased to see us continuing to deliver against our industrial plan with the coming into force of the final contract for the two “Meraviglia-Plus” ships,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises. “I view this as a further reflection of the strength of the relationship in place from day one between MSC Cruises and STX France. It is for this reason that, in addition to having built at STX France all twelve of our existing ships, through 2026 up to eight more are currently planned to be built in France at STX.”

MSC Cruises said the two units finalized this week are part of the company’s €9 billion investment plan for eleven new next-generation cruise ships to coming into service by 2026