MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago told assembled press and dignitaries that the cutting-edge 5,700-passenger, 167,700gt ship — due to be delivered in May 2017 and open for bookings from June 2015 — will be named MSC Meraviglia (marvelous/amazing).
She will spend her first summer sailing the western Mediterranean, and will have three homeports: Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona.
‘MSC Meraviglia will be the biggest and most innovative cruise ship ever built by a global European-based cruise line,’ said Vago.
'We chose a name that denotes the sense of awe and wonderment felt when you experience the ship’s stunning features,’ he commented.
STX France general manager Laurent Castaing added: ‘Since March 2014, more than 400 people from our various teams have been working tirelessly to define the special features of a ship that, I am certain will set the standard for its generation. This extraordinary project is testament to MSC Cruises’ visionary approach, and we are proud to collaborate with them through our capacity for innovation and know-how.”’
Gianni Onorato, ceo MSC Cruises said: ‘This steel-cutting event marks a decisive milestone in the company’s development plan, one that will see MSC Cruises double its capacity by 2022 through up to seven new ships and a €5.1bn investment plan.’
The ship will also be specially crafted ‘cluster cabins’ for families, and an extended MSC Yacht Club, which will be enhanced with duplex suites, a vast solarium and a private lounge and restaurant.
MSC Meraviglia will also feature a range of technological advancements, such as ‘Near Field Communication’ technology, enabling guests to make on-board payments, access their cabins or geo-locate children, among other features, using their cruise card, bracelet or smartphone.
A 480sq mtr LED screen will form the entire ceiling of the ship’s interior promenade. Like a digital sky, this LED image vault will beam out compelling images and vistas day and night – including scheduled visual events.
MSC Meraviglia is the first of two identical ships on order from STX France. The second will enter service in 2019. In addition, MSC Cruises has options for two further Vista ships to be delivered by 2022.
The Vista project is the result of a lengthy development process under STX’s ECORIZON programme to create cleaner, smarter, more efficient ships. They will be water emission free, and their hulls and propulsion systems will be optimized for extreme energy efficiency. Scrubber technology will neutralize fumes and CO2 emissions in accordance with the latest international maritime regulations. In addition, the ship is fully compliant with the Safe Return to Port requirement.
MSC Cruises, which has grown by 800% in capacity since 2004, carried 1.67m passengers in 2014 and generated a turnover of €1.5bn. The company is forecasting an additional 10% growth in 2015.