Last updated: 01:49 PM ET, Mon April 20 2015

Introducing Meraviglia, MSC Cruises' First Vista-Class Ship

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | MSC Cruises | Donald Wood | April 20, 2015

Introducing Meraviglia, MSC Cruises' First Vista-Class Ship

PHOTO: Marked by a steel-cutting ceremony today in Saint-Nazaire, work is now underway for the first of MSC Cruises’ $5.4 billion, seven-ship investment plan to double its capacity by 2020. (All images courtesy of MSC Cruises)

MSC Cruises is already the world’s largest privately owned cruise company, and the addition of a new megaship to its fleet will only help the brand retain its foothold at the top of the industry.

A ceremony Monday celebrated the first steel being cut for the company’s first Vista generation megaship while officially announcing the vessel’s name, the MSC Meraviglia. The ship, expected to be delivered by May 2017, marks the latest chapter in the company’s $5.4 billion growth plan.

While it may be two years before the ship finally hits the open sea, MSC Cruises will begin taking bookings in June 2015.

MSC Cruises executive chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, released a statement about the megaship and the excitement surround its addition to the fleet:

“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.”

The steel-cutting ceremony took place Monday in Saint-Nazaire, France, where it was announced that the MSC Meraviglia would hold 4,500 guests. The Vista-class vessels will be the second largest in the world in terms of passengers, behind only Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class, which holds 5,400 guests.

The ship will debut before the rush of summer travelers and will spend the first portion of its service sailing the western Mediterranean. The MSC Meraviglia be the first to have three homeports, including Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona.

As for the amenities passengers will find on the new ship, families will find better usage of space in what the company calls "cluster cabins," there will be a 5,167 square foot LED screen in the promenade, and the MSC Yacht Club will be a luxury haven.

PHOTO: An artist's rendering shows the exquisite pool deck aboard MSC Meraviglia.

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