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Just weeks after MSC Cruises first cut steel on MSC Bellissima, its second Meraviglia-class ship, the line has firmed up a contract for two new Meraviglia-Plus-class ships.
Following the launch of MSC Meraviglia in May 2017 and MSC Bellissima in March 2019 will officially be the as-yet-unnamed Plus ships in October 2019 and September 2020 respectively, as built at STX France in Saint-Nazaire.
Previously, as of February 1, 2016, the option was in place to construct the two 177,000-GRT ships, and now the final contract is in place between the cruise line and the shipyard. The larger vessels will be based on the Meraviglia-class currently being built at 167,000-GRT. The MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima will boast 2,250 guest cabins, whereas the latter two will sport 2,450 staterooms, making them the second largest in the world according to the cruise line.
[READMORE]READ MORE: MSC Cruises Celebrates New Meraviglia Orders[/READMORE]
"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."
The new ships are part of MSC Cruises' massive $10.2 billion expansion plan including a total of eleven new ships coming online by 2026. The vessels will be defined as all-weather ships measuring in at 1,086 feet in length with a total capacity of 6,300 passengers. Their interior promenade will stretch 1,195 feet, crowned with an LED sky screen of 1,023 by 65 feet, and their aft dining and entertainment venue will showcase Cirque du Soleil. They will also feature a fine art museum onboard.
[READMORE]READ MORE: MSC Cruises Celebrates MSC Meraviglia Construction Progress[/READMORE]
Both the Meraviglia-class and Meraviglia-Plus-class fleets will also feature STX France's ECORIZON technology for reduced emissions compliant with future 2020 regulatory requirements. The MSC Meraviglia is soon on its way, and the MSC Bellissima will follow shortly behind. The latter began construction on November 28, 2016, with a traditional steel-cutting ceremony.
The final ship order comes at a time of unprecedented growth in the cruise industry as MSC Cruises alone is constructing several new prototype ships. At the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, the line is also preparing its new MSC Seaside for launch year-round from Miami, Florida in December 2017 and its MSC Seaview sister-ship for the Mediterranean in June 2018.
Jason Leppert - Senior Writer, Cruises and Cruise Travel - is a San Diego-based cruising expert with more than 100 sailings...
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