The 2009-built MSC Splendida, at 137,936gt, will become one of the largest ships operating in the region. The vessel can carry up to 4,363 passengers in 1,637 staterooms. Some 76% of accommodations have balconies.
MSC Splendida will join MSC Lirica, which has been serving—to great success, MSC Cruises said—the Chinese market since May. The ship recently moved to Tianjin to capture the North China market during the winter season.
Announcing the news in Beijing on Wednesday, MSC Cruises ceo Gianni Onorato said the ship has been one of the most popular in the fleet with Chinese and other Asian passengers cruising the Mediterranean with MSC.
MSC Splendida will undergo significant drydock enhancement in late 2017, ahead of the China deployment, to further improve and customize it for the market.
MSC Splendida also introduces the MSC Yacht Club to the Chinese market. This exclusive 'ship-within-a-ship' concept offers privacy, 24-hour butler service, a dedicated concierge reception and priority boarding and disembarkation.
The move would appear to be a direct competitive response to Dream Cruises' new Genting Dream, which also offers a luxury ship-within-a ship concept, Dream Mansion, served by butlers. That vessel is scheduled to be delivered next month. It will operate from Guangzhou (Nansha) in southern China.
MSC Splendida's itinerary details are to come, but MSC Cruises said the ship will visit destinations in China, Japan and Korea.
The news closely follows the opening of MSC Cruises' Shanghai office with its new management and operations team.