Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean Shipping company’

MSC Meraviglia – Style Over Substance?

January 8, 2018

Very big cruise ships are increasingly becoming the norm. This year onward, and over the next five years or more, we are going to see the biggest ships ever built, enter service.

MSC’s ‘Meraviglia’ mega-ship has now been in service since June 2017.

I’ve not cruised on her. However many early passenger reviews of Meraviglia, which have appeared on-line, saw the reviewers impressed with the ship itself, but sometimes critical about the on-board experience. Even some later reviews, such as this one, from December 2017, highlighted the same issues.

(MSC image – Click to enlarge)

MSC’s Meraviglia (‘Wonder’ in English) 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’.  Meraviglia was the first of these ships to be delivered.

MSC’s origins are Italian, but they strive to offer a multi-national product. In fact they particularly want their big new ships, to appeal to the enormous North American cruise market.

Some commentators have been critical of the MSC experience on-board their smaller ships, in the past.  This poses two questions: Do MSC need to  raise their game to deliver a higher quality experience?  Can they achieve this on their big new ships?

In short is Meraviglia really ‘Wonderful’?

I’ve not cruised on her yet, but guest contributor, Tony Barraclough (UK), took 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 and has written two reviews.

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

He has kindly given me permission to share his reviews with you.

MSC Meraviglia reviews: HERE

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Rise Of The Clones

January 5, 2018

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

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.

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.

We are going to see even more ‘clones’ over the next few years.

‘Made to measure’ or  ‘off the peg’?

Carnival have shared ship designs between their brands for many years now: P&O have several Princess designs. Cunard have two generic Carnival ‘Vista’ class ships and P&O has one. P&O’s next mega ship (184,000 gt) is a design shared with Costa, AIDA and Carnival cruises. Cunard will be getting a new ship in 2022, a design shared with ‘Holland America’.

Surprisingly the Norwegian Cruise lines next class of cruise ship, called ‘Project Leonardo’, is not a new a class of ship designed by themselves either. It has been designed 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.

Malcolm

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

MSC Inaugurate Their New Terminal F

December 10, 2017

Click to enlarge (Courtesy MSC/PortMiami)

MSC Cruises and PortMiami have marked the completion of the new Terminal F at PortMiami.

The  new terminal will serve as the homeport for the MSC Seaside as well as the MSC Divina.

The completion of the terminal was celebrated with an official ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, December 7.

The new building is a two-story 38,282-square-foot facility, that offers seating for up to 1,500 guests. It has 60 new ticket counters as well as a VIP waiting area, special group lounge, and a more efficient baggage claim area, according to MSC.

MSC Seaside will arrive in two week time, at her homeport of Miami, Terminal F.

(MSC)

More Seasides – And Even Bigger!

November 29, 2017

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Today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, MSC Cruises officially took delivery of its new flagship MSC Seaside.

At the occasion of the delivery ceremony of MSC Seaside, the Company’ second newly-built to come into service in 2017, MSC Cruises and Fincantieri also signed firm orders for the construction of two Seaside EVO ships, a further evolution of the Seaside Class prototype, for a total investment of €1.8 billion.

MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco said: “As we are nearing the end of 2017, we can look back on a year when we enjoyed unprecedented capacity growth. With two of the more innovative new ships in the industry having come into service in the past six months and now with the addition of two Seaside EVO ships to our investment plan, we are now even better positioned to further extend our global footprint. We are expecting the delivery of at least one new ship each year through 2026, with six to have come into service between 2017 and 2020. ”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “We are proud to have accomplished such an important project: a ship, for a new customer, the largest one ever built in Italy. In fact, I would like to highlight that “Seaview”, the sister ship of “Seaside”, will be delivered in just 6 months in this same shipyard”. Bono added.

Key specs for the new Seaside EVO are as follows:
Length/beam: 339m/41m
Gross tonnage: 169,380 GRT

In addition to offering even more space, Seaside EVO ships will have greater dimensions, more cabins, an even larger Yacht Club – with an additional deck and larger cabins — and will be hosting up to 5,646 passengers.

At the same time, just like the Seaside Class, the Seaside EVO ships will be equipped with the latest advanced environmental technology, including: a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system, an advanced active emissions control technology system, that significantly reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) into harmless nitrogen (N2) and water; exhaust gas cleaning (EGC) technology to meet the strictest exhaust regulations in port and in operating areas; state-of-the-art waste management and recycling systems; advanced water treatment systems – going above and beyond regulatory standards and meeting the highest industry standards; and, an advanced energy and heat recovery system.

Across the ships, there will be the latest generation of energy-saving devices and all areas will feature LED lighting. The ships will be ultra-hydrodynamic and thanks to optimized hull lines, propellers and rudders, combined with the latest anti-fouling paint, wave resistance will be further reduced, and greater fuel-efficiency will be achieved.

With the addition of these new ships, the Company’s already industry-unprecedented investment plan will now account for 12 new ships to be built by 2026, for an overall investment of EUR 10.5 billion

During today’s delivery ceremony, which pays tribute to centuries-old maritime tradition, Roberto Olivari, Fincantieri’s shipyard director, handed over to Pier Paolo Scala, Master of MSC Seaside, an ampoule holding the first water that touched the hull when the ship was floated out earlier this year. After the closing of the delivery ceremony, MSC Seaside initially set sail for Trieste. From there, she will continue to Miami for her naming ceremony on 21 December.

MSC Seaside is the first ship in the Seaside Class and a completely new prototype pushing the boundaries of innovative ship building and design. At 153,516 GRT and with a guest capacity of 5,119, she is the second newly-built next-generation mega cruise ship in the MSC Cruises fleet and the first one to be delivered by Fincantieri.

MSC Seaside will be homeporting in Miami and will begin her first sailing in the Caribbean where she will call at various ports in the East and West Caribbean.

Fresh on the heels of MSC Seaside, her sister ship MSC Seaview will come into service in June 2018, starting her summer season in the Mediterranean. Today at the delivery ceremony, Mr Vago also announced that MSC Seaview will be christened in Civitavecchia, Italy, on June 2, 2018.

(Fincantieri)

Malcolm says: A big ship gets bigger, that will split public opinion.  Everybody seems to agree that the big new MSC ships are very impressive, but MSC still seem to be struggling to operate them efficiently: A recent External Review Here.

Seaside Entertainment Details

November 23, 2017

(Seaside – MSC Image)

MSC next super-vessel, ‘Seaside’ will feature seven Broadway-style shows and improvised comedy with more flexible times, MSC Cruises has revealed.

Additionally, Seaside will host concerts that range from opera to Latin, accompanied by piano soloists and vocalists.

All these shows and concerts will take place in the 934-seat Metropolitan Theatre.

MSC released details of four of seven Broadway-inspired productions, which “include something for movie fans, with ‘My Life in Music’ presenting the most famous movie soundtracks performed live onstage, as well as something for vintage music fans, with ‘The Dream.’ Another eye-catching show, ‘The Wizard,’ will feature breath-taking illusions, and ‘Peter Punk’ provides a fresh new take on the famous story of Peter Pan.”

The shows, put on by a cast of five singers, 15 dancers and 14 variety artists, will be offered on a rotating basis with as many as four performed nightly.

Seaside’s kids clubs will feature an expanded LEGO partnership, 3D printers and virtual reality games, as well as gameshows and other activities. There will also be movies screened in the theatre, as well as child-parent playtime in the kids club.

(MSC)

Malcolm says: MSC are following in the footsteps of offering activities and the types of entertainment pioneered by RCI and NCL.  I’m not over-excited by the “Peter Punk” concept, but I will try to remain open-minded.

Introducing: MSC Grandiosa

November 18, 2017

Meraviglia (Image courtesy MSC)

MSC Cruises’ newest ship will be called MSC Grandiosa. She will be the first in the line’s ‘Meraviglia Plus Class’

The name was announced at the ship’s recent steel cutting ceremony at the STX France shipyard, marking the official start of the vessel’s construction.

Grandiosa is one of four ships currently under construction for MSC, which is scheduled to launch 11 new vessels between 2017 and 2020 as part of a €9 billion plan which will double MSC’s fleet.

Others ships currently being built include North America-focused ship MSC Seaside, which launches next month. She will be based in Miami and christened there. Seaside’s sister ship, MSC Seaview, will follow next year.

The fourth is MSC Bellissima, a 181,000-ton, 6,334-passenger identical twin to MSC Meraviglia, which launched in June. Bellissima is also being built at STX France, where its coin ceremony and keel laying were held today, immediately following Grandiosa’s steel cutting.

Highlights planned for Grandiosa and Bellissima feature on-board fine-art museums, indoor promenades with virtual skies overhead, extensive water parks, indoor amusement park areas and new entertainment, including Cirque du Soleil performances. MSC also revealed that Bellissima will have a French bistro on-board.

(MSC)

Malcolm says: As yet I’m not sure what the ‘plus’ means in this case. In many cases,  it means a slightly bigger version of a ship’s design – such as NCL’s ‘Breakaway Plus’ class which has an extra deck of cabins and some extra public spaces.

I have heard some great things about MSC’s new ships (the hardware) but I am still hearing about issues with the on-board organisation, crowd control and customer Services (the software). You can build big new ships, but they do not successfully operate themselves.

MSC Seaside ship interiors: HERE

MSC Meraviglia reviews: HERE