MSC Cruises nailed down some details for its new class of cruise ships that will be among the largest in the world. Four planned World Class of cruise ships that will be built at STX France between 2022-2026 will be able to carry 6850 passengers in 2760 cabins.
That puts it just larger than the capacity of the current title holder for world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas, which has a capacity of 6780 passengers. The gross tonnage of the new class of ships, though, at around 181,000 tonnes will be smaller than Royal's Oasis-class ships, which come in at more than 185,170 gross tonnes.
The details were announced at a ceremony at the shipyard in St. Nazaire, France as the cruise line took ownership of its newest vessel, the not-so-small, 152,000-tonne, 4500-passenger MSC Meraviglia, which will make its way to Miami by 2019 after serving Europe for its first two years of service.
"As we unveil MSC Meraviglia, a new vessel that marks the start of the next phase of our growth, we are delighted to confirm another key component of our 10-year investment plan: the World Class," MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said. "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."
The battle for most cabins, though, may be moot by the time Royal Caribbean's fourth Oasis-class ship Symphony of the Seas debuts in April 2018, as it will have about 230,000 gross tons and more cabins than its sister ship Harmony, meaning it would also have a greater maximum capacity, although that exact capacity has yet to be announced.
Other details about the MSC World Class ships include length of 330 metres, width of 47 metres, a "Y"-shape hull design that is supposed to allow for better views and more balcony cabins. A "G"-shaped bow design is also supposed to improved guest comfort and stability. The ship will also have square cabins, glass pool lounge and a family village section. The aft of the ship has an open lower deck with balconies surrounding either side similar to Royal's Oasis-class ships. All of the ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas, the cleanest-burning fossil fuel.
"Once again, MSC Cruises has chosen to put their trust in our capacity to support their growth and expansion as well as in our ability to conceive, develop and build the world's most modern and technologically-advanced cruise ships," said STX France CEO Laurent Castaing. "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. Our exceptional industrial partnership continues to benefit an entire region."
In the meantime, Meraviglia is the line's 12th ship, and with the contract for two World Class ships and option for two more, the line will see 11 more ships through 2026. Up next for the line is MSC Seaside, which will come to Miami in December. Then two yet-to-be-named 160,000-tonnes Meraviglia-Plus class ships will be constructed in 2019 and 2020 and a third Seaside class ship is slated for 2021.
Meraviglia is the first ship to employ the line's partnership with Cirque du Soleil, with a venue designed specifically for two unique performances. Other notable features include a congregated space for families including an amusement park and water park, an 315-foot-long indoor promenade with LED light sky and a larger, three-deck MSC Yacht Club.