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Fincantieri's Palermo yard adds midsection to MSC Armonia

MSC Armonia's new midsection is positioned in the dock, ready to be inserted at the cut
The first of four MSC Cruises ships to undergo the 'Renaissance Program' of enhancements was extended by 24 meters on Wednesday at Fincantieri's Palermo yard.

Workers slowly moved the 14,000gt separated bow of MSC Armonia 30 meters away from the stern on rails to allow a new 2,200gt pre-built midsection to be inserted.

The procedure marked a milestone in the €200m Renaissance Program, which will renew and enlarge MSC Armonia, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera and MSC Lirica, giving them more cabins and an array of updated features.

MSC Armonia is gaining 193 passenger cabins and various enhancements to services and entertainment.

In preparation for the lengthening, steel-cutting operations started on Sept. 2 when Fincantieri engineers marked the cutting line to enable accurate grit blasting of the area. The following day the ship’s electrical systems were deactivated. The cutting operations finished on Monday, ahead of the Sept. 10 main event, which was witnessed by international media.

After the Renaissance Program, MSC Armonia’s environmental impact will be significantly reduced. The ship will receive a new hull coating to minimize drag and water resistance, considerably reducing fuel consumption. In addition, LED lighting in all public spaces will cut energy consumption.

An energy-saving variable speed drive inverter will be installed to markedly cut the ship's electricity consumption by adjusting it in line with operational conditions. A new propeller blade design is also being studied by MSC Cruises’ blade manufacturer to further maximize efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

Emilio La Scala, general manager MSC Cruises' technical department, said Fincantieri has the proven expertise to satisfy the cruise line's high standards, and has been a long-standing partner for various maintenance and refitting operations.

When MSC Armonia emerges on Nov. 17, it will sport new areas for the Baby Club built in partnership with Chicco, a new Mini Club, Young Club, Junior Club and Teen Club. The buffet will be open 20 hours a day and have elements to improve the dining experience. MSC Armonia will also have a new lounge area and an extended restaurant.

A library will be installed, the MSC Aurea Spa will be enhanced, and water spray park will be added.

The ship entered drydock on Aug. 31 and will remain on site for 11 weeks, until resuming service with a cruise from Genoa to the Canary Islands.