It's pretty remarkable that MSC Cruises only just began initial steel-cutting on its new MSC Meraviglia on April 20, 2015, and already the ship has been floated out at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire ahead of its June 2017 launch.
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Since its keel laying, I had the opportunity to see the ship being built (seen in the slideshow below) when I visited the yard back in February of this year. At that time, none of the superstructure yet extended above the promenade deck and its first installed lifeboat davits. Most of the building blocks that would eventually make up the ship were still scattered about, the beginnings of the hull's bulbous bow and forward thrusters included, but familiar curves and portholes were already present in many instances.
Now the ship (as pictured in the header above), floated out and moored at the finishing dock, appears entirely complete. While the superstructure has now been fully fleshed out, its interiors remain to be assembled. Soon to be ready for passengers are the ship's Carousel Lounge and home to exclusive Cirque du Soleil productions, an enhanced MSC Yacht Club and central Mediterranean-style promenade corridor complete with a 262-foot synthetic LED sky.
In a newly released video showcasing the Meraviglia's construction progress - hosted at my Popular Cruising YouTube channel and embedded below - you can see the beginnings of the aforementioned interior promenade and its arched ceiling as well as the ship's bold exterior architecture spearheaded by a distinctive swooping bow.
It is well on its way to becoming the so-called "ship for all seasons" now that the vessel has touched water for the first time and is floating on its own. To get to this point, MSC Cruises cites a number of impressive building materials, not the least of which are 35,000 tons of steel, more than 300,000 steel parts, nearly 1,000 miles of cable, over 60 miles of ventilation, around 125 miles of pipe, 80,000 lighting points, almost 50,000 square feet of galleys and 25,000 square feet of cold rooms and just about 80,000 gallons of paint.
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At wet dock, the MSC Meraviglia will receive its finish work before she sets sail in June 2017, and soon its second sister ship, the newly named MSC Bellissima, will follow in Spring 2019, as will a pair of larger versions later in 2019 and 2020.
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