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Talk of more MSC newbuilds rife ahead of Aponte's meet with French president Hollande

Castaing and Aponte pictured at STX France in 2014
Speculation in France is rife that MSC Cruises is about to announce an order for up to four more newbuilds at STX France.

Gianluigi Aponte, owner and chairman of MSC Cruises' is due to meet with French president François Hollande and Laurent Castaing, general manager of STX France in Paris tomorrow at the Elysée Palace, where the details are likley to be revealed.

MSC Cruises has been a loyal customer of the Saint-Nazaire yard for more than 12 years and aims to carry 3.4m passengers in 2022 compared to its current annual capacity of 1.7m.

The cruise line has four ships under construction in France: two 4,500 lower berth Meraviglia class to be delivered June 2017 and 2019, as well as two larger 4,888 lower berth Meraviglia-Plus class, for delivery October 2019 and September 2020.

According to sources close to the yard, tomorrow's announcement involves Meraviglia-Plus vessels.