Cruise liner MSC Cruises has signed a new memorandum of understanding with STX France, finalizing the order of two 200,000 GRT, LNG-powered mega cruise ships, with options for two additional vessels.
The four ships will become MSC Cruises’ World Class, which will include several innovations such as a completely new generation of LNG-powered engines as well as a new generation waste water treatment system, the company said.
MSC Cruises’ World Class cruise ships will feature 2,760 cabins and a maximum occupancy of 6,850 guests, the highest passenger capacity in the global cruise fleet. The vessels, which will be delivered in 2022 and 2024 – the options are for 2025 and 2026 – will have a length of 330 metres and 47 metres of beam.
“These new vessels will further expand our partnership with STX France all the way to 2026, with up to seven additional innovative ships to be built during this period,” Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, said.
“By adding the new World Class to the four previous ship classes that we have delivered over the past 15 years, the number of vessels in their fleet built by STX France in Saint-Nazaire is set to reach 20,” STX France’s CEO Laurent Castaing commented.
Outlining the new ships’ features, MSC Cruises said that the World Class’ futuristic “Y” shape structure will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. In addition, as disclosed, the ships’ G bow-vertically positioned at a 90 degree angle- has been designed to improve stability, hydrodynamics as well as to enhance guest comfort.
The announcement of the World Class was made as MSC Cruises officially took delivery of MSC Meraviglia.
STX France is being acquired by Italian rival Fincantieri which agreed to buy a 66.66 percent holding for EUR 79.5 million in the yard. However, as the French President seeks reviewing of the terms of the deal, several cruise shipping companies have emerged as potential investors in the shipbuilder should such an opportunity surface.
MSC owner Gianluigi Aponte is reported by the French daily Le Monde as expressing interest in acquiring a minor stake in STX France in order to safeguard the shipbuilder’s know how in constructing cruise ships from competitors including those overseas.