'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 MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, who called the prototype 'Seaside' blueprint futuristic because of its structure, shape and versatility.
Despite their size, the ships are to be able to fit into most ports, according to MSC. Their length is 323 metres, width is 41 metres and height is 70 metres.
The ships will accommodate up to 5,300 passengers each and are to be delivered in November 2017 and May 2018. They are priced at €700m each, financed by the support of SACE.
Features include a sea-level promenade that rings the ship with outdoor spaces, shops and restaurants. In addition, Seaside will sport a spacious theatre and panoramic lifts with sea views.
'Today is the start of an ambitious and new adventure with our friends from MSC,' said Fincantieri ceo Giuseppe Bono, adding that the ships represent a 'genuine design challenge' and will be developed entirely by Fincantieri which he said would confirm the builder's 'technological supremacy.'
MSC has traditionally built its cruise ships at STX France, where it also has orders for a pair of 167,600gt newbuilds with 4,500 lower berths each. Those are due for delivery in early 2017 and early 2019.
Last year Seatrade Insider reported Fincantieri was working on a new design for MSC Cruises, and rumors have been circulating for some time that an order was close.
The Fincantieri newbuilds enable the line to double its capacity by 2022, according to MSC Cruises ceo Gianni Onorato, who said they will push capacity up to approximately 80,000 passengers a day.
MSC said the ships are being built to sail to 'the most sought-after warm weather destinations in the Mediterranean, South America and Caribbean.'