MSC Cruises, a Swiss-based European company that is the world’s fourth largest cruise line and largest privately-owned cruise company, has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with STX France for the construction of up to four LNG-powered cruise ships. The four ships provided under the LOI – two firm orders and two further options – will be delivered in 2022, 2024, 2025 and in 2026. They will each feature a GRT in excess of 200,000 tonnes, more than 2,700 cabins and approx. 5,400 lower berths occupancy capacity.
The ships, the first one of which would be delivered in 2022, will be based on a new next-generation prototype and will form what will be known as the “World Class” of MSC Cruises ships. The announcement was made at the Élysée Palace in the presence of the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, as well as MSC Group’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Gianluigi Aponte, and STX France’s CEO Laurent Castaing. The will be built at the STX shipyard in St. Nazaire.
MSC Cruises’ investment plan reaches from 2014 through 2026, and includes a total of up to eleven next-generation ships. The new orders would reflect an additional nearly €4 billion (USD 4.54 bn) investment, which will bring the total value of the Company’s 10-plus years investment plan to nearly €9 billion (USD 10.22 bn).
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, declared: “Our long-standing focus on innovation will make the new prototype quite unlike anything currently existing in the cruise industry.” He explained the vessels will feature the latest and the best state-of-the-art smart technology at sea and use the most-advanced environmentally-friendly technology available, all the way through the LNG-propelled engines. “Moreover, it will be a ship for all seasons and for all regions,” he added.
Laurent Castaing, STX France Chief Executive Officer, commented: “MSC Cruises has been expanding its global footprint and fleet of state-of-the-art ships that combine cutting-edge technology, comfort and unrivalled entertainment with the lowest impact on the environment.”
(Source: MSC Cruises)