Archive for the ‘MSC (Mediterranean Shipping company)’ Category

Send In The Clones

July 19, 2017

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Ships Of State

In the era of the great Ocean Liners, each country that had the resources and know-how designed and built themselves unique ships. These were ‘ships of state’, each representing their country.

For example the UK had the likes of the Titanic and later the Cunard Queen’s ‘Mary’ and ‘Elizabeth’. France had their wonderful ‘Normadie’ and ‘France’. American had their ‘America’ and ‘United states’. Each ship represented their respective countries engineering achievements, excellent design and the finest decor and artwork.

SS United states (Top) and SS America, United States Line (Source unknown)

Today cruise ship are much more generic and the design can actually be shared across different cruise brands. In fact the only differences in some cases, may be the funnels, livery and internal decor.

‘Made to measure’ or  ‘off the peg’?

Surprisingly the Norwegian Cruise lines next class of cruise ship, called ‘Project Leonardo’, is not a new a class of ship designed by themselves, but by the Italian shipyard Fincantieri.

I guess the advantage of this approach is that it must save development costs and time as the shipyard has already done the hard work.   However the disadvantage is that the shipyard can share this design with other buyers and it appears that they already have!

On closer inspection NCL’s ‘Project Leonardo’ looks remarkably similar to MSC’s ‘Seasisde’ also designed by Fincantieri.

However I believe Leonardo is shorter than Seaside, so will have a smaller gross tonnage and carry less passengers. Seaside is 154,000 gross tonnes and carry  4,140 (lower berth) passengers. Leonardo will be 140, 00 gross tonnes and carry around 3,300 passengers.

Seaside has a glass covered pool in front of her funnel, Leonardo appears to have a non-covered one in this location (for the Haven?) This may leaves just one sun-deck pool aft?

The big attraction of this ship design is the very large promenade deck, which is probably more expansive than NCL’s excellent ‘Waterfront’ feature found on-board their Breakaway and Breakaway+ classes.

I do find it a little sad when different cruise brands share a ship design. It just lacks originality.

I was going to say that Leanardo will be quite different internally to Seaside, as she will be designed to accommodate NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining system with multiple dining rooms.

However looking at Seaside’s deck plans (HERE) there are three full decks and two half decks of restaurants and other public rooms. I guess little will need changing apart from the décor and branding. I guess that was part of the appeal of using Fincantieri’s existing design.

os-pictures-norwegian-cruise-line-project-leon-010

(Courtesy NCL)

Malcolm

*(Why is the project called ‘Leonardo’, anybody?)

Meraviglia – Ship Of Nightmares?

July 3, 2017
abc

Meraviglia/Barcelona – Disembarkation above, customer services queue below (Source Unknown).

MSC’s Meraviglia (‘Wonder’ in English) has been called their most exciting ship yet. She is certainly their most expensive yet and biggest, in terms of gross tonnage and passenger capacity.

Meraviglia is 171,598 gross tonnes and carries up to 5,714 passengers. She is part of a rapid expansion of MSC’s fleet comprising of three new classes of ship: Meraviglia, Seaside and The Word Class.

Last month she complete her maiden cruise and the internet is now receiving reviews form Meraviglia’s maiden cruise and her subsequent cruises.

I’ve not been on the ship myself and I’m unlikely to be welcomed on-board after writing this.  However if you ‘google’ “Meraviglia Reviews”, you will find that many  passengers feel that the ship is genuinely ‘wonderful’,  but there also comments suggesting that everything is not well.

Now I fully appreciate all reviews are very subjective, but certain criticism are appearing again and again.

Below are a few lines that I have borrowed form some pubic reviews on the net:

  • Found our 1st cruise very stressful & spent a lot of time queuing & trying to either get an answer or help sorting things out. Found staff & people very rude pushing & shoving & no manners buffet area at times reminded me of a shop sale – getting a table at times was a joke.
  • The ships public area interior is stunning visually but the whole experience was disappointing, due to amateurish dining service and failing IT systems. We know cruise lines have issues in the early days, but queuing for hours on board should never happen daily, new ship or not.
  • For the Brits on board there is the additional problem with the lack of control on any queue – so much so that I had queued at the Cirque de Soleil desk for about 20 minutes, just got to the front when a MSC rep said I had queue jumped and needed to go to the back of the queue which stretched a further 20 yards by this time.
  • BUT the most significant failure was the IT system and inadequate contingency planning as it impacted the dining, billing and bar service. Our MSC app never worked on board.
  • Throughout the cruise we never saw the Customer Services queue take less than 1 hour, morning, noon and night.

(MSC )

Poor Design & Poor Passenger Organisation?

Meraviglia is currently under media, industry and public scrutiny.

It’s not so unusual for a new ship to have teething problems. There is normally a mixture of experienced and inexperienced crew members, all working in a new environment, all trying to form an effective team.  Some service issues are not uncommon, such as slow and/or inaccurate dining room and bar service.

All reviewers agree that Meraviglia  has some excellent ‘hardware’ (the ship itself), but many feel that the ‘software’ (crew/service) has some serious issues. These have been highlighted again and again, in early reviews. Nevertheless, some reviews still have good star ratings, but NOT all.

personally I would be able to turn a blind eye to the number of issues and the scale of the issues, reported on-board Meraviglia in recent reviews. There include poor on-board organisation, poor crowd-control, resulting in queues and congestion.

I never  want to visit customer service during a cruise. If I do, something has clearly gone wrong for me. If passengers are queuing for an hour at Meraviglia’s customer services desk, that must mean 1)The staff are inefficient and/or of an insufficient number. 2) The number of passengers with problems must be considerable.

Some passengers on the maiden voyage seem to have already been put off from cruising on Meraviglia again or even MSC as a whole.

Stiff Competition

Meraviglia is now just one of many family-orientated/high-energy ships available from a number of different cruise lines. MSC are competing with mega-ships operated by Carnival, RCI, NCL, P&O, Princess, Carnival and Costa .

In the past decade ‘Royal Caribbean’ and the ‘Norwegian Cruise Line’ have been very successful at introducing a variety of big new ships into service, such as Oasis, Epic and the Breakaway class. I’m not suggesting that their respective maiden experiences were all perfect, but they often managed to avoid serious service issue from the very start, including handling the large numbers of passengers that their mega-ships carry.

In the case of the ‘Oasis’ class which currently carries the largest number of passengers afloat (up to 6,296) the ship generally feels spacious and not overcrowded, even during embarkation, disembarkation and in the ports of call. So how was this achieved?

Well firstly the ‘Oasis’ class has a better space-to-passenger ratio (more room per passenger) than Meraviglia: 35 Oasis, 30 Meraviglia, based on all berth occupancy.

Secondly the ‘Oasis’ is very well designed with few bottle-necks.

Thirdly RCI have build big dedicated cruise terminals and new docks at Oasis’s ports of call. Swiping on and off in the ports of call take place on the shore-side, rather than on-board.

Fourthly RCI’s on-board organisation is excellent.

MSC have some stiff competition.  Meraviglia represents a $1 billion investment so MSC cannot afford to get it wrong for too long.

Just Teething Problems?

I’m not completely heartless.  I can forgive a new ship and its crew for minor service issues on a maiden cruise.

However early reviews suggest that Meraviglia’s has many issues, some of which sound quite major.

I would expect even the cheapest cruise to have elements of luxury about it. The on-board experience should NOT feel like a last minute shopping at a big mall on Christmas Eve. Nobody should have to tolerate their cruise being an ‘experiment’ or ‘training ground’, unless it’s free!

However some reviewers still gave Meraviglia  4 or 5 stars (out of 5). This is their prerogative of course, but this is over generous, given the content of their reviews.

For me to give a ship to give a ship 4 stars (out of 5) most aspects of the experience would need to be “very good”.  Likewise for me to give 5 stars (out of 5), most aspects of the experience would need to be “excellent”. I could not ignore long queues and disorganisation on-board, happening on a regularly basis.

Before I get flamed by MSC fans: Of course it is too early to call Meraviglia ‘unsuccessful’ and probably far too sensationalist. However it’s not been the great start that MSC had  hoped for.

A Need For Remedial Action

Fortunately service issues and on-board organistion are much easier to rectify that if the hardware had been wrong.

I suspect many of the crew on board Meraviglia are on a steep learning curve.

I would imagine that MSC  are already making improvements to the various service issues, particularly the passenger-flow.

I bet ‘Geniuses’ are looking at all those unreliable IT systems very carefully.

I’m sure that the management will be doing everything within their power to turn Meraviglia’s early reputation around.

The lack of infrastructure (a suitably big cruise terminal at Barcelona for example) would not have helped Meraviglia’s disembarkation and embarkation. However I believe MSC have plans to invest in new cruise terminals, in homeports.

However Meraviglia is too expensive for MSC to let her fail.

Lessons must be quickly learned. MSC also have  more big ships on the drawing board, including the even bigger ‘World Class’.

The ‘world Class’  will carry up to 6,850 passengers, that’s around 554 more passengers than RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class, the world’s biggest cruise ship. However the ‘World Class’ will be some 25,000 gross tonnes (12.5 per cent) smaller.

MSC really need to get it  right.

(If you don’t agree with me, or even if you do, please post a comment.)

Meraviglia Review

Guest contributor, Tony Barraclough (UK), was on  Meraviglia’s maiden voyage.

In fact Tony did a back-to-back itinerary: Le Havre to Genoa, then Genoa to Barcelona. He occupied two different grades of cabin.

Tony has done ten MSC cruises, as well as ten with other cruise lines, so he knows what he is talking about.

Tony  has written two straight-talking reviews which feature many positives and negatives.  He has kindly given me permission to share his reviews with you.

MSC Meraviglia review: HERE

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MSC ‘World Class’ Movie

June 16, 2017

MSC/STX official movie:

Here is how two of the biggest ships in the world measure up:

Stats Harmony Of The Seas MSC World Class
Year built 2016 2022
Builder Saint-Nazaire (STX France) Saint-Nazaire (STX France)
Building cost USD 1,35 billion USD 1,125 billion
Owner Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd MSC Cruises
Class Oasis World
Speed 23 kn TBA
Length (LOA) 362 m / 1188 ft 330 m / 1083 ft
Beam (width) 46 m / 151 ft 47 m / 154 ft
Gross Tonnage 227000 gt 200000 gt
Passengers 6780 6850
Crew 2193 TBA
Decks 17 TBA
Cabins 2747 2760

Meraviglia+ Duo To Showcase Original Masterpieces

MSC Cruises is set to showcase masterpieces of classic art, such as original works by Renaissance and Impressionist artists, in an on-board Museum of Culture, on the pair of Meraviglia-Plus ships delivering in 2019 and 2020.

See full ‘Seatrade article’: HERE

Introducing MSC’s World Class

June 1, 2017

World Class – click to enlarge (Courtesy MSC)

MSC Cruises has now confirmed their order for up to four LNG-powered cruise ships of 200,000gt at STX France and released the first rendering of their new design.

The total order is valued at €4.5bn.

The delivery schedule is 2022 and 2024, with the options in 2025 and 2026. Each ship will have 2,760 staterooms and accommodate up to 6,850 passengers—the highest capacity of any cruise ship.

Click to enlarge (MSC)

MSC Cruises said the Y-shaped profile will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships’ G bow—vertically positioned at a 90-degree angle—has been designed to improve stability for passenger comfort and hydrodynamics for fuel efficiency.

Click to enlarge (MSC)

Other innovations include family-friendly ‘villages,’ a panoramic aft and a glass pool lounge.

(MSC)

Click to enlarge (MSC)

Malcolm says: Wow, she certainly looks original from the front, although the rear split superstructure is of course RCI Oasis style. The thought of 6,850 passengers will scare many people. That’s around 554 more passengers than RCI’s ‘Oasis’ class, the world’s biggest cruise ship, yet the ‘World Class’ will be some 25,000 gross tonnes (12.5 per cent) smaller. She sounds ‘busy’!

One of her innovations is a ‘square’ cabin design. We have yet to see the renderings of the cabins.

hjjhjhjhhjyyyyyyy

(MSC)

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MSC Want To Build Barcelona Terminal

May 26, 2017

82-5644a5fd8ea67

MSC Cruises wants to invest in a massive state-of-the-art cruise terminal at the port of Barcelona, according to Pierfrancesco Vago, the executive chairman.

There are no further details or a timescale as yet.

(MSC)

MSC Magnifica, 22 Sailings From Southampton

April 16, 2017

(Courtsey MSC)

The Mediterranean Shipping Company have announced that MSC Magnifica will be based in Southampton for a season in 2018.

The 95,128 gross tonne ship, carrying up to 3,605 passenger, will be sailing a mix of Mediterranean and Northern European voyages.

The sailings will also offer special British touches such as roast dinners, afternoon tea, John Smith’s beer, a curry night, a full English breakfast, and various condiments like Marmite and HP Sauce.

The 22 sailing dates will also be all inclusive of drinks and wi-fi on-board!

(MSC)

NCL’s Project Leonardo “Optimal Size”.

March 21, 2017

 

nclproject_2

(Courtesy NCL)

Norwegian Cruise Line has ordered at least four 140,000 tonne, 3,300-passenger Project ‘Leonardo’ ships from Fincantieri. These will be delivered from 2022 through to 2025.

This news represents a downsizing  from the recent Breakaway+ class ships at 163,000 gross tonnes, carrying 4,300 passengers.

Speaking on the company’s year-end earnings conference, President and CEO Frank del Rio called it an “optimal size”.

“The size of these vessels provides an optimal balance between deployment flexibility and earnings potential, allowing us to add new ports of call worldwide while maintaining a strong return profile with a payback of roughly five years, in line with our most recent newbuild,” said del Rio.

The ships will also allow Norwegian to redeploy existing vessels to other domestic and international homeports, where the company does not yet have a presence, according to del Rio.

(Cruise Industry News)

nclproject_3.jpg

(Courtesy NCL)

Malcolm says: Interestingly this new class of ship is based on a prototype developed by Fincantieri, and NOT by NCL, as in the past.  I guess the advantage of this approach truly guarantees a new design of ship. However the disadvantage is that the ship can share this design with other lines. ‘Project Leanoaro’ is clearly a slightly smaller version of MSC ‘Seaside’,  also designed by Fincantieri.

It’s curious  how one management team must have thought that 163,000 gt (Breakaway-Plus) is an ‘optimal size’, yet the next team think 140,000 gt is better. However many experienced cruise passengers have expressed their opinion that modern cruise ships are getting too big, although the new NCL ships are hardly small.

It depends what sort of experience that you are seeking. I personally think that mass-market ships can benefit from being very big – there is simply more room for for public rooms, facilities and innovations. The ‘Oasis’ class (the world’s biggest) is an amazing design.   However a ship of say 30,000 gt can provide you with a more intimate experience that a mega-ships cannot compete with.

I was expecting to see an 200,000 gt NCL design to be delivered within the next decade. It looks as if I’m wrong.

Project Leonardo slide show: HERE

The Worlds biggest class of cruise ship review: HERE

Norwegian Escape Review HERE

Norwegian Bliss – Observation Makes A Comeback HERE

Fincantieri Lays Keel for Seaview

February 2, 2017

Feb. 02, 2017:

Today MSC Cruises and Fincantieri marked a key milestone in the building of MSC Seaview with the celebration of the coin ceremony for the MSC Seaview.

MSC Seaview will come into service in June 2018, sailing the Western Mediterranean in her inaugural summer season. She will then continue her deployment in Brazil.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises Chief Executive Officer added: “MSC Seaview will bring guests and the sea closer to each other, with a pioneering beach condo concept and other unique design and product elements that allow to make the most of the warmer weather. With one of the highest ratios of outdoor spaces at sea, guests will also enjoy an increased number of balcony cabins, sea views and outdoor public areas, with every element carefully planned to allow to make the most of the sea and the sunshine.”

(MSC)

Sister ship:

XXL – Is The New Standard

October 30, 2016
(Genting's Global Class)

(Genting’s Global Class)

Have you ever noticed how cruise lines tend to build similar sized ships?

O.K, there are exceptions where a luxury line will build a smaller ship. There are also exceptions when a cruise line will be building a ship bigger than anybody else’s (normally Royal Caribbean). However in general the big players are influenced by each other.

I can remember some 20 years ago (mid to late nineties), when many mega-ships were being built at around the 75,000 gross tons, in size. For example, RCI’s five ‘Vision’ class ships and NCL’s ‘Sun’ and ‘Spirt’ classes. Although Carnival (Destiny, 1995) and Princess (Grand Princess, 1998) pushed the boundaries with vessels over 100,000 gt.

In about 2005, many megaships built for NCL, RCI, P&O and Cunard etc. we’re around 90,000 gt. Although Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 had pushed the boundaries in 2002, to 148,000 gt .

Royal Caribbean’s 225,000 gt ‘Oasis of the Seas’, which entered service in 2008, was the world’s largest cruise ship. She was considerably larger than anything else. The ‘Oasis’ class (Oasis, Allure and Harmony) continues to dominate in size and probably will for some years to come.

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

The 180,000gt Costa LNG ship

However the goal-posts have moved once again. We now see a new wave of ships in the order book for 2019 onwards, which are 180-200,000 gt in size. These new mega-ships, or maybe they should be called ultra-ships, will each carry up to 6,600 passengers.

  • Carnival has announced that they have ordered seven 180,000gt mega-ships: two for Costa, two for Carnival, two for AIDA and one for P&O to be delivered between 2019 and 2022.
  • Genting Hong Kong announced they have ordered two new ships for Star Cruises in 2019 and 2020. These ships will be 201,000 gross tons.
  • MSC Cruises announced that they would be ordering up to four new class cruise ships, called the “World Class”. These would be around 200,000 gt and would be delivered between 2022 and 2026.

Carnival, Genting and MSC are clearly catching up to Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis’ class.

However this constant race for size, is not without its issues.

Older/smaller tonnage will be retired. Cruise ships rarely have a life longer than 30 years. This means that most of the cruise lines fleets, have ships growing in size. What was once a megaship (say 70,000gt) look like a ‘medium’ sized vessel now, maybe even a ‘small’ one.

Megaship are packed with facilities, including multiple dining rooms and multiple entertainment venues, even a few gimmicks throw in like a Park or Bumper cars. However bigger is not always best. These floating theme parks lack intimacy and a ‘connection’ with the sea. Arguably the world’s best cruise experiences, in terms of fine-dining and attentive service, are not to be found on-board mega-ships.

Megaships are also limited to what ports they can visit as they need long berths, deep water and extensive shore-side terminal facilities to deal with the thousands of passengers that they carry.

There is also much debate about the impact thousands of passenger arriving at a Caribbean island (for example) has on the local environment.

Irrespective of  any negative aspects, the big ships are still coming and the masses love them. They almost generate their own publicity. A new “Giant Ship” makes a great headline.  A new “Small Ship” does not.

As a result the existing smaller/older ships will be facing extinction. However there will always be some intimate ships on offer, but these are likely to get rarer and will become an increasingly expensive option to cruise on.

Malcolm

(There are reviews of some of the world’s biggest ships, menu right)

Further Details of MSC Seaside

April 25, 2016

21/04/2016:  MSC Cruises marked an important construction milestone in the building of MSC Seaside with the celebration of the traditional maritime coin ceremony held at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

MSC Seaside, set to come into service in December 2017, will sail year-round from Miami and is being designed with the North American market in mind.

More Details Revealed

Atrium

Atrium (Courtesy of MSC)

MSC Cruises has revealed further details of MSC Seaside including suspended glass floors, a wrap around outdoor promenade with bars and restaurants, ocean-view elevators  and the highest ratio of outdoor space of any ship at sea.

msc-seaside-sushi-bar

Outdoor Sushi Bar (Courtesy MSC)

The concept behind MSC Seaside is to “bring the sea closer to passengers”, and is being designed with an exclusive warn weather aesthetic. The beach-condo-inspired concept will focus on the outdoor space of cabins and suites, many al fresco eating options including 20 bars; outdoor spa and fitness facilities, such as luxury cabanas for spa treatments, two wellness cabins, which feature advanced Kinesis Technoygm fitness equipment; and the private MSC Yacht Club, which features a lounge and restaurant and a solarium.

Full Cruise Critic Article: HERE

Designing MSC Seaside

June 2, 2014

Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard revealed a new concept ship earlier in the year, dubbed Project Mille, signalling the future of cruise ships.

(Fincantieri project Millie)

(Fincantieri project Millie)

The purpose of this project is to explore a more modern configuration to the traditional design of passenger vessels. Since shaft and rudder based propulsion has quickly demised, there is no reason to have the diesel generators in the aft section anymore. This ship will have them amidships. By bringing then closer to the centre of gravity, this helps stability. You can note that the funnel has accordingly been brought amidships; right above the engines.

They also made the hull wider and the super structure narrower. Also in another attempt to reduce the weight above the hull. The Oasis class kind of have the opposite of this, but they also have two gaping holes in the superstructure (Central Park and the Boardwalk).

There are also other initiatives to lower the centre of gravity. There will be no large main swimming pool topside. It will be moved somewhere lower in the ship. The spa will also be moved down. By moving any other heavy-weight public area lower, architects are able to yield an entire additional deck of passenger cabins. As these cabins are located in the superstructure, they will be balcony cabins, which mean higher revenue yielding.

edit2

Mille offers 10 percent more cabins; 10 percent more open-deck space; 10 percent increase in efficiencies. (10% more cabins represents a very significant increase in revenue generating potential)

Fincantieri says that this design can be scaled accordingly from 60,000grt up to 150,000 grt. And 1,500 pax up to 4,000 pax.

(Source: Cruise Ind)

(MSC image)

(MSC image)

Malcolm says: MSC’s new project ‘Seaside’ mega-ship is clearly based on Fincantieri’s ‘Millie’ project.

Seaside has the distinctive centre funnel and narrower superstructure. The promenade is wide and is above the lifeboats until it drops down at the stern. The stern ‘prom’ is nearer the water level than usual, with a large pool. There is no large centre lido-deck, but an area aft of the funnel. The aft superstructure is narrower for stability.

 

MSC Spends €2.1bn on the Seaside

May 22, 2014
(MSC Image)

(MSC)

London, May 22, 2014 – MSC Cruises has today signed a contract with Italian shipyard Fincantieri confirming the construction of two more new cruise ships, with an option for one more vessel.

The new prototype project, named ‘Seaside’, will be the largest cruise ships ever built by Fincantieri and will feature a revolutionary architectural style leading the way for a new generation of cruise ships.

(MSC Click to enlarge)

(MSC Click to enlarge)

The two new ships will cost €700 million each, with the first scheduled for delivery in November 2017 and the second arriving in May 2018. The deal follows MSC Cruises’ letter of intent with STX France, signed in March this year for another two ships (and two optioned).

From the moment we started talking with Fincantieri, we had in mind to design and build two completely new ships, revolutionary in their structure, unlike anything that exists on the market today” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises.

Seaside is a futuristic prototype because of its structure, shape and versatility. We are getting ready for the new and compelling challenge that the construction of these ships represents. It will be a real revolution in the world’s cruise market, an excellent product for its unique and innovative architectural features and cutting-edge technology.

(MSC)

(MSC)

With a length of 323 metres, a width of 41 metres and a height of 70 metres, the new ships will have a gross tonnage of 154,000 tons and will accommodate up to 5,300 passengers plus 1,413 crew members. The ships will boast 2,070 guest cabins, 759 for crew members, and 43,500 square metres of public areas available. Innovative in design and versatility, the new ships will be able to dock in any port around the world.

(MSC click to enlarge)

(MSC click to enlarge)

The contract was signed between Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises chief executive Gianni Onorato, and Fincantieri chief executive Giuseppe Bono.

Today, MSC Cruises adds the last piece to its new industrial plan that will allow us to double the capacity of our fleet by 2022. With the arrival of the new ships we will reach a capacity of about 80,000 passengers a day” said MSC Cruises chief executive Gianni Onorato.

(MSC image)

(MSC image)

The ‘Seaside’ prototype presents unique features such as a sea-level promenade that circumnavigates the ship with outdoor spaces, shops and restaurants. In addition, Seaside will also feature a spacious theatre, a terraced balcony and panoramic lifts with sea views.

Furthermore, the ship will boast numerous technological innovations that will, among other things, further reduce fuel consumption by 25%.

The total value of MSC Cruises’ new orders with Fincantieri and STX France total almost €5 billion.

 (Source: MSC)

Giles Hawke Comments

Speaking to TTG Digital following the announcement that a €2.1 billion deal has been signed to build two new ships with the option of a third, Giles Hawke, MSC Cruises executive director for UK, Ireland and Australia, said the new ships will feature a number of innovations.

He added these will include wind deflectors to stop customers from being troubled by strong winds while the ship is cruising while a promenade deck skirting the ship and almost at sea level will further improve the quality of the cruise.

Meanwhile the fact that the ships are shorter and wider, they will be 323 metres long and 41 metres wide, will allow them to visit smaller ports.

(MSC Image)

(MSC Image)

With 2,070 cabins spread over 43,500 square metres of public space the ships will have space for 5,300 passengers.

Hawke said: “It’s substantially different to what anyone else has got. Pier Franchesco has talked about creating the iPhone of the cruise industry, this is it.

“It’s all based around an outdoor living experience called Project Seaside. It (then promenade deck) is almost at sea level and there will be outdoor shopping and bars

“We’re working on creating the right wind deflectors so they (customers) can sit outside while the ship is moving.

“It puts us up there as a substantial major player against any other cruise line in the world.

Hawke said: “By 2020 we will have double our fleet versus what we have today.”

(Source: TTG Digital)

msc big

(Click to Enlarge)

Malcolm Says: Wow, this IS exciting news for big ship fans (but a nightmare for small ship lovers.)

MSC have now announced four big newbuilds, two called ‘Vista’ (STX) and the two above, ‘Seaside’ (Fincantieri). MSC are set to become the third biggest cruise line by capacity.  I like the sound of Seaside’s NCL type ‘Waterfront’ feature and Vista’s RCL style ‘Royal Promenade’.

I note that Seaside has her funnel (and probably much associated machinery)  in the middle, which reminds me of the great ocean liners of the past.

MSC Seaside Interiors slide-shows HERE