Last updated: 09:22 AM ET, Wed February 03 2016

MSC Cruises Celebrates New Meraviglia Orders

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | MSC Cruises | Jason Leppert | February 01, 2016

MSC Cruises Celebrates New Meraviglia Orders

Rendering courtesy of MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises just celebrated the current construction of its first Vista-class ship – the MSC Meraviglia (rendered above) – with a coin ceremony and announced a pair of larger Meraviglia-Plus ship options.

The initial MSC Meraviglia is being built at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire and will be christened in Le Havre on June 1, 2017. The traditional ceremony, marking continued construction on the vessel, at the yard was attended by Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises executive chairman; Laurent Castaing, president of STX France; Mr. Emmanual Macron, France’s Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs; and Mr. Edouard Philippe, the mayor of Le Havre and a member of Parliament.

While four Vista-class ships were expected before, this is the first time that the latter two have been detailed as larger variations. The Meraviglia-Plus pair will feature 2,444 cabins and a double occupancy of 4,888 passengers. Distinguishing them further will be an onboard classic and contemporary art museum. The bigger ships are scheduled for delivery in October 2019 and December 2020, almost two years earlier than originally announced.

READ MORE: It’s a Cirque Renaissance for MSC Cruises

Vago said, “our long-standing cooperation with STX-France and the continued growth of our business allows me today to confirm well ahead of time the existing options for two additional ships. The two Meraviglia-Plus vessels will be even larger and longer as well as richer in features and amenities, thus confirming MSC Cruises as the industry’s boldest innovator when it comes to ship design and experiences we create for our guests.”

The Meraviglia ships will showcase Cirque to Soleil entertainment and are described as vessels suited to all seasons with a dramatic interior promenade, that on the latter pair measures 362 feet in length and is capped by a 310-by-20 foot LED animated sky screen. After the first two ships, the Meraviglia-Plus ones will include 200 additional cabins and a maximum capacity of 6,300 guests. The line says at 1,085 feet in total length, they will be “the largest ships at sea able to call at any port.”

READ MORE: MSC Cruises Teams with Samsung to Equip Next-Gen Ships

As a point of comparison, the biggest cruise ship in the world currently – Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas – is still longer at 1,187 feet, and the line’s forthcoming Harmony of the Seas will be even larger. These ships are limited in size to where they can berth, and realistically, even the shorter Meraviglia-Plus ships will likely be incapable of accessing every international port dock but could alternatively always tender guests ashore.

The Meraviglia-Plus ships are valued at $1.7 billion, which raises the overall investment of the four Meraviglia designs to $3.2 billion. Also on the books for MSC Cruises are two Seaside-class ships and an option for a third. The first is currently under construction and set to come online in December 2017.

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