MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, announced today that it has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with STX France for the construction of up to four over 200,000 GRT LNG-powered cruise ships.
The additional four new ships, the first one of which would be delivered in 2022, will be based on an advanced new next-generation prototype and will form what will be known as the “World Class” of MSC Cruises ships.
This major announcement was made at the Élysée Palace Paris, France, in the presence of the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, MSC Group’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Mr Gianluigi Aponte, and STX France’s CEO Mr Laurent Castaing.
MSC Cruises is the first global cruise line brand to develop an investment plan of this length and magnitude. Spanning a horizon of over ten years, from 2014 through to 2026, a total of up to eleven next-generation ships are expected to be built.
The new orders would reflect an additional €4 billion investment, bringing the total value of the Company’s 10-plus years investment plan to nearly €9 billion.
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, declared: “Today’s announcement is further proof that this industry presents significant opportunities for additional growth going forward for both our brand and product, as well as of our firm commitment to be best-positioned to capture them to the fullest. For this reason, our ten-plus year investment plan now encompasses up to eleven new MSC Cruises ships, coming into service between 2017 and 2026.
“It is also a reflection of our constant commitment to innovation, as we partner with STX France to design yet again a completely new prototype – already the sixth in our history. In yet another industry-first, the new MSC Cruise World Class prototype will feature a record-breaking, futuristically-conceived design that will make the ship a truly unique place to be at sea, whilst maximizing the open air space available to guests.
“Our long-standing focus on innovation will make the new prototype quite unlike anything currently existing in the cruise industry. It will be: the richest in amenities and features for all guests, including families,; cutting edge in design; feature the latest and best state-of-the-art smart technology at sea as well as use the most-advanced environmentally-friendly technology available. Moreover, it will be a ship for all seasons and for all regions.”
The four ships provided under the LOI – two firm orders and two further options – will be delivered in 2022, 2024, 2025 and in 2026. They will feature a GRT in excess of 200,000 tonnes, more than 2,700 cabins and approx. 5,400 lower berths occupancy capacity.
MSC Cruises’ investment plan includes current orders with STX France for two Meraviglia and two further Meraviglia-Plus Class ships as well as orders with Fincantieri shipyard in Italy for up to three next-generation Seaside Class ships. The €9 billion investment plan encompassed the recently completed €200 million Renaissance Programme with four of the current 12 of the Company’s fleet, already the most modern at sea within Europe, which was also carried out by Fincantieri.