The most versatile cruise ships of the world due for delivery in 2017 and 2019
MSC Cruises signed a letter of intent (LOI) with STX France for the construction of two new cruise ships, with an option for two more. The two ships will join MSC Cruises’ fleet, currently counting 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 offer on board and we will broaden our horizons to ensure we meet the growing global demand in every region” said MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago. “Once again our longstanding partnership with the STX yard has proved key for these plans”.
“We are really proud of building this new generation of ships for MSC Cruises, a long-time appreciated partner. We invested a lot of R&D and design efforts to make sure that MSC Cruises’ new flagship would truly be unmatched. The latest commercial negotiation was particularly challenging in the light of today’s global competitive landscape in the shipbuilding industry. I would like to point out that the competitiveness agreement signed with our trade unions has been decisive to reach this LOI signature” said Laurent Castaing, STX France General Manager.
The two units are due for delivery respectively in 2017 and 2019. 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.
“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” explained Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises.
Among the new features of the ships there will be specially designed cabins for families and an “extended” 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.
The contract will be binding when the financial package is secured.
MSC Cruises is the market leading cruise company in the Mediterranean, South Africa and Brazil and operates across the globe. MSC Cruises sails throughout the year in the Mediterranean and in the Caribbean and offers a wide range of seasonal itineraries in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the French Antilles, South America, Southern Africa, as well as Abu Dhabi and the Emirates. Its modern fleet comprises twelve ships: Fantasia-class MSC Preziosa, MSC Divina, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia; Musica-class MSC Magnifica, MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, and MSC Musica; Lirica-class MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica. MSC Cruises is the only company in the world to receive the “7 Golden Pearls” award from the Bureau Veritas in recognition of its high level of quality management and environmental responsibility. MSC has also achieved ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certification for the quality and food safety of all aspects of its catering, both on shore and on board. MSC Cruises believes that global leadership brings increased responsibility towards the physical and human environments in which it operates. As such, a long term partnership with UNICEF was undertaken in 2009 to support educational programmes for children in Brazil, for which almost three million euros were raised. The partnership was renewed early 2014, this time to support UNICEF’s efforts to tackle famine and malnutrition in developing countries and in emergency situations.
STX France SA is part of STX Europe AS, an international shipbuilding group which aims to be the leading builder of cruise vessels, ferries and other specialized vessels.
With its 2,500 employees, among whom 500 graduate engineers, a 600 person design office and up-to-date production facilities, STX France designs and builds the biggest and most complex floating equipment in the world. www.stxfrance.com