MSC Seaview Calls in Valletta

Seaview in Valletta

Valletta Cruise Port has welcomed MSC Cruises newest ship, the MSC Seaview, which called for the first time on Wednesday, June 13.

The MSC Seaview, a ship bearing a Maltese flag registration, was named last week and was on its inaugural voyage, according to a statement.

In honour of the maiden call, a special event was held onboard the ship in the presence of the Honourable Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, honourable members of the Cabinet of Malta, local authorities and dignitaries, as well as business and industry leaders.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat highlighted the significant collaboration between Malta and MSC.

“Thanks to MSC we will see more guests visiting our Islands, wherein 2018, MSC ships will be entering port over 70 times with nearly 300,000 passengers,” he said.

“We are proud to welcome MSC Seaview on her maiden call to Valletta Cruise Port and to be welcoming her on 22 other occasions in our scenic historic port, throughout her inaugural season in the Mediterranean this summer.  It is indeed a pleasure for Valletta Cruise Port to collaborate with MSC Cruises who entered the cruise industry 15 years ago. The company has left an indelible mark on an ever-evolving cruise industry. In the last five years, we have hosted over 880,000 passenger movements in Valletta sailing on MSC vessels. We congratulate MSC Cruises on their achievements and look forward to many more years of fruitful joint cooperation,” commented Valletta Cruise Port’s CEO and Global Ports Holding COO, Stephen Xuereb.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman added: “Malta has always been important to us and we have been partners for many years. Our first cruise ship to call here was the Melody, back in the late nineties. Today, MSC Seaview, a next-generation cruise ship like no other, featuring some of the best and most innovative maritime and environmental technology at sea, will be calling Malta regularly in 2018”.

He added: “Moreover, MSC Seaview will be our third ship to fly the Maltese flag. And wherever we call, we proudly hoist the Maltese Cross. As such, the Maltese flag also stands for innovation, advanced technology, and maritime excellence. Today, MSC Seaview has for the first time arrived home, in her port of registry and many others ships will follow. All cruise ships that we have on order will also be registered here. In Malta, we have found a home for our new fleet “.

On arrival, the ship and its guests and crew were welcomed with the lively tunes of a traditional village band featuring a number of local favourites, along with international pieces. Prior to departure, guests were treated to a display of local folk dancing by dancers wearing Maltese traditional costumes, courtesy of the Malta Tourism Authority.

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MSC Cruises unveils plans to build fifth Meraviglia class vessel

Image result for MSC meraviglia

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.

Global Ambitions

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises
Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises.

“In three years we will double our capacity and in 10 years we will triple it,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises.

In 2018 MSC will operate a fleet of 14 ships with an average size of 2,892 guests at double occupancy and is expected to be the largest operator by capacity in Europe. It has ambitious expansion plans in North America and China and is the market leader in South America and South Africa. By 2028 the company will have 24 ships in service, with an average size of 3,734 passengers.

“Our objective is to deliver a holiday experience which is unique to our customers and to tourism in general,” Vago told Cruise Industry News. “It’s also to expand the concept of cruising to the world,” Vago added.

Between now and 2026, MSC will take deliveries of ships on the Seaside, Meraviglia, Meraviglia Plus, Seaside EVO and the LNG-powered World Class platforms.

Vago described MSC as a global brand, with a premium level product offering at a contemporary price.

“Our common denominator is that we are a Mediterranean brand with the capability to fine-tune the experience to the area of operation,” Vago said. “We can fine-tune the product delivery.”

While its peers have a house of brands competing in the cruise market, MSC has a single brand with large ships.

“MSC has traditionally believed in organic growth,” Vago said.

But that doesn’t mean they may not one day explore other market segments as customers grow with the brand.

The MSC Seaside

In Europe, Vago said the company has realized their ambition to conquer the market, also entering the business later than all their competitors.

That strategy is now expanding to the rest of the world, he said, and the plans will follow demand.

In China, the MSC Splendida is replacing the Lirica on a seasonal basis, upping summer capacity out of Shanghai. In South America, the new Seaview will sail from Brazil for winter 2018-2019.

In North America, the new Seaside is year-round, to be joined by the 2017-built Meraviglia come 2019.

“We have customers travelling to the Caribbean and we needed to introduce new ships, with a different platform,” Vago said. “We had the need to put more cabins and a new offering into the North American market if we wanted to evolve our brand there.

“We had one ship (in North America) and she was filled with customers from Europe. We did not have the opportunity to grow,” he continued. “There is an opportunity for MSC to grow in North America but we needed to create both the hardware and the software for the market. That is the vision behind the building of a very new platform and prototype, the MSC Seaside.

“The Seaside is a spirit of our leadership in many ways. We are setting the pace for innovation and we will see many reflections of this platform for years to come.”

The Seaview, a sister ship, will be delivered this summer. The Seaside EVO platform, essentially an enlarged version with more staterooms, will be launched in 2021, with a second ship scheduled for a 2023 delivery from Fincantieri.