The new ships by European independent MSC Cruises will have futuristic designs
Arguably taking a cue from Royal Caribbean, which has recently proven itself as a powerful contender against competitor Carnival Cruise Line in the Caribbean, MSC Cruises, owned by Gianluigi Aponte and the main competitor for Carnival’s sister cruise line Costa in Europe, will be building two new ships that are bigger than anything owned by Costa by a significant margin.
The new ships will incorporate a “futuristic” design that on the outside appears to have similarities to the very popular Royal Caribbean Oasis-class. The prototype renderings show a split-tier design possibly to offer inward facing balconies.
MSC Cruises signed the contract with Fincantieri for the construction of two new cruise ships with an option for one more. The two ships will join MSC Cruises’ fleet, at different times: the first in November 2017, the second in May 2018. Altogether, the contract is estimated at a value of €2.1-billion – including the option to build a third vessel (which cruise lines almost always eventually use).
Right now the working title for new project is “Seaside” – every new project has a working name, but that name is usually dropped once formal names for each ship have been decided. “Seaside” will be the largest cruise ship ever built by Fincantieri. The line says, “Its innovative features will make it unique in the shipbuilding industry. The two ships will lead the way for a new generation of cruise ships that will be completely different from an architectural point of view.”
"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. Working closely with Fincantieri 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.”
Each of the two new ships will have a length of 1060 feet, a width of 135 feet and a height of 230 feet, 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 468,230 square feet of public areas available. Innovative in design and versatility, the new ships will be able to dock in any port around the world.
Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, declared, "This is a special day for us. Thanks to the involvement of more than 2,000 technicians and 160 employees dedicated to basic research, as well as a partner network of Italian and European centres of excellence. This core asset is what makes our group unique in its kind in the world, and allows us not only to reaffirm our leadership in a sector as complex as the cruise one, but also to count on a substantial order backlog that bodes well for a full recovery in our business."
MSC Cruises plans to double the capacity of its fleet by 2022. Currently the line has 12 ships of various sizes, but with the new ships it will reach a capacity of about 80,000 passengers a day, according to Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. "As of today we have launched an investment plan of over €5 billion that includes new builds, ordered in Italy and France, and the conversion of four ships already in the fleet."
The Seaside prototype presents unique features such as a sea-level promenade that circumnavigates the sides of the ship with outdoor spaces, shops and restaurants. In addition, Seaside will also feature a splendid and 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% and advanced safety systems that go beyond what is required by international regulation.
The ships will be built to sail to the most sought-after warm weather destinations in the Mediterranean, South America and Caribbean.