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MSC's Lirica class to gain hundreds of cabins in €200m project at Fincantieri

MSC Cruises
MSC Armonia - one of four ships to add capacity, entertainment options, retail
MSC Cruises plans to enlarge and upgrade its four Lirica-class ships over the next two years in a €200m program at Fincantieri. The work will add nearly 200 passenger cabins per vessel.

The upgrades of MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Opera will also yield new entertainment options including water parks, and advanced technology and expanded retail options.

For Fincantieri, the contract strengthens its position in the refitting and refurbishment segments, according to ceo Giuseppe Bono, who called the project 'highly ambitious both technically and operationally.'

The project is financed with a line of credit guaranteed by SACE, Italy’s export credit agency.

The Lirica-class ships were built between 2003 and 2005 at STX France in Saint-Nazaire. Each is currently 251 meters long, 60,000 gross tons and carries 2,069 passengers. After the renovations, the ships will stretch 275 meters, tonnage will grow to 65,000 and capacity to 2,680. The projects will add 193 cabins for passengers and 59 cabins for crew, per ship.

The boutiques will be redesigned with more space and an all-new perfumery with display corners dedicated to brands like Dior, Lancôme and Dolce & Gabbana.

'When our four Lirica-class ships return to the seas after a total of 38 weeks in drydock, they will be entirely new ships with additional amenities and comfort for our travelers, allowing them to reach sophisticated and refined destinations around the world,' MSC Cruises ceo Gianni Onorato said during a Friday news conference in Rome.

The event was former Costa president Onorato's first major public appearance since joining MSC Cruises.

SACE ceo Alessandro Castellano called the project 'a further recognition of the high quality of our shipbuilding industry and a sign of renewed optimism for the future of such an important industrial sector.' He added: 'We are very proud to contribute to the financing of this plan announced by MSC Cruises, knowing that the real winners will be the thousands of workers at Fincantieri and its SME supplier base.'

MSC Armonia is scheduled to undergo the work in 2014, from Aug. 31 to Nov. 17, while the other ships will get the changes in 2015 dockings—MSC Sinfonia from Jan. 12 to March 1, MSC Opera May 2 to July 4 and MSC Lirica Aug. 21 to Nov. 9.