In a bid to increase global reach and appeal, MSC Cruises have increased their megaship order from Italian shipbuilder Fincantier to two, with an option to order a third. The AUD $3.2 billion order represents significant growth for the cruise line which currently operates 12 cruise ships.
The two ships, tentatively named Project Seaside I and Project Seaside II will be larger in gross tonnage than any MSC cruise ship currently operating, although another two ships being built for MSC Cruises by STX Europe will be even larger.
Utilising revolutionary design, architecture and technology, the ships will make an unusually large amount of exterior deck space available for passengers, creating a spacious atmosphere. The ships will incorporate a sea-level promenade for passengers to enjoy.
The promenade will employ cantilever technology and will feature a large theatre, terraced balcony and lifts transporting passengers to the upper deck whilst offering panoramic sea views.
UK and Ireland Managing Director, Giles Hawke, explained: “The idea is to bring passengers closer to sea level so they feel as if they are at the beach.”
Additional features include glass deflectors and wind tunnel technology that will enable diners indoors feel as though they are dining outdoors, perfect for the warm weather routes the ships will be taking.
The two new megaships are planned to enter service for MSC in November 2017 and May 2018 and will weigh in at 154,000 tonnes each. The 323 metre-long, 41 metre-wide and 70 meter-high ships will be able to cater for 5,300 passengers in 2,070 cabins.
Other technological innovations will reduce fuel consumption by 25% and allow the ship to dock in any port in the world.
MSC Cruises chief executive officer Gianni Ornato said that the order fitted into MSC’s fleet development plan:
“Today, MSC Cruises adds the last piece to its new industrial plan that will allow us to double the capacity of our fleet by 2022,” he enthused. “With the arrival of the new ships we will reach a capacity of about 80,000 passengers a day.”
The two new megaships will represent roughly 1/8 of this 80,000 passenger expectancy. Like all of the MSC Cruise ships, Project Sunshine I and II will sail under the Panama flag.