(MSC – Click to enlarge)
20 March 2014
In a surprise announcement MSC cruises signed a letter of intent with STX France for the construction of two new ‘Vista Class’ cruise ships , with an option for two more. The two ships will join MSC Cruises’ fleet, currently comprising 12 ships, all built in the Saint-Nazaire yards.
The signature took place at the Hôtel de L’Industrie, in Paris in the presence of Gianluigi Aponte, President of MSC group, Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France and Pierre Moscovici, French Minister of Economy and Finance. Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, and Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises were also in attendance.
“Growth and development have always been the characteristics that have defined MSC since the very beginning of our journey into the world of cruising. The launch of this prototype and the building of these two new ships confirm our commitment to further growth and to further development. MSC Cruises will expand its capacity by 31%: we will incredibly enrich our offerings on board and will broaden our horizons to ensure we meet the growing global demand in every region” said MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago.
Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises went on to say that “The new prototype will be the biggest cruise ship ever built by a European ship owner and the most versatile and flexible of the world: not only will it be able to call in most of the ports and destinations on earth, without compromise, but it will have extraordinary features that will make it the perfect choice at sea, in summer and in winter. The two new ships will reaffirm MSC Cruise’s dedication to outstanding and genuine dining options and out-of-this-world entertainment with new panoramic spaces, a bigger theatre and a spectacular amusement park connected to an outdoor aqua park as well as a two-deck “inside promenade.”
The two units are due for delivery in 2017 and 2019 and will be 315 metres long and 43 metres wide, with a gross tonnage of about 167,600 tons, boasting 2,250 cabins for guests, nearly 820 crew cabins, and accommodating 5,700 passengers and 1,536 crew members.
Among the new features of the ships there will be specially designed cabins for families and an “extend” MSC Yacht Club, the entirely self-contained private club on the prestigious foredecks that will now be completed with a vast solarium, a private lounge and restaurant and duplex suites.
The new prototype is the result of a long development process, conducted in the framework of STX’s ECORIZON ® programme, leading to the creation of a new generation of ships that are cleaner, more efficient and more technological. They will be water emission free, while its hull and propulsion system will be optimised for better energy efficiency. The installation of scrubbers will allow for fumes to be neutralised and CO2 emissions to be in accordance with the latest evolutions of international maritime regulations.
The contract signed is worth 16 million working hours for STX France and its subcontractors, 9 million for the prototype and 7 for the second unit. Building is due to start in spring 2015.
*(Not to be confused with the Carnival ‘Vista’ ships deployed across a number of brands.)
Malcolm Says: Each of these new ships will be 167,600 gross tons, so just slightly smaller than Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class ships which will be 167,800 gross tons. However the MSC ships will hold more passengers (at double occupancy) than Quantum and Anthem (4,180 passengers), with 2,250 cabins (4,500 double occupancy) and a maximum capacity of 5,700 passengers and 1,536 crew members.
These new ships will be the third biggest class in the world (based on gross tonnage). Quantum/Anthem will be in second place with the Norwegian Breakaway+ ships (Escape and Bliss) being pushed down to fourth place.
Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class ships (Oasis, Allure and Oasis 3) will continue to hold the crown for being the biggest, by miles, at 220,000 gt.
MSC did not announce where the ships will be deployed, but speculation is high that one will be based in the Mediterranean and another could be deployed in the US.
“…a two-deck ‘inside promenade”, sound like a Royal Caribbean style ‘Royal Promenade’. I note that there appears to be rows of windows low at the stern, maybe a restaurant or a lounge a little like Quantum’s Two70 Degree.
I wonder what “Prototype” means in this case? I wonder why they are “the most versatile and flexible of the world”?
See MSC’s other two newbuilds: http://wp.me/pfRKD-2BD
Review – World’s Biggest Cruise Ship: http://wp.me/PfRKD-Bg