French shipbuilder STX France cut the first steel on Wednesday, November 15, for MSC Cruises’ first Meraviglia-Plus class ship, to be named MSC Grandiosa.
The Meraviglia-Plus ships are a further evolution of the Meraviglia class prototype, increasing their gross tonnage to 181,000 GRT, 1,086 ft. in length and maximum capacity of 6,334 guests.
The Meraviglia-Plus ships will feature the very first fine art museum at sea and Cirque du Soleil at Sea.
“The Meraviglia generation of ships is already setting a new standard for the cruise industry and is just one of the three brand new prototypes that we have designed to bring the cruise guest experience to the next level. MSC Grandiosa is named to signify magnificence and grandeur, a fitting name for this even richer, ultra-modern mega-ship,” Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said.
“Of course, over and above everything else, these ships will be once again at the forefront of environmental technology at sea. In fact, amongst other innovations, they will feature the latest hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, SCR-Catalysts, state-of-the-art waste management and recycling capabilities, emission-reducing energy and heat recovery systems, and highly advanced wastewater treatment,” Vago added.
Another construction milestone was achieved at the yard on the same day- the traditional coin ceremony for MSC Bellissima.
Namely, two commemorative coins were placed into one of the ship’s blocks as a sign of blessing and good fortune for the ship and its crew.
The two mega-ships — MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa — are due to come into service in March 2019 and November 2019, respectively.
“Today as we celebrate a cutting of the first steel and then a keel laying in the same day, we are living an unprecedented experience that marks the beginning of a new era, both for our client and for our yard,” said Laurent Castaing, general manager of STX France.
The two ships are part of MSC Cruises’ongoing investment plan, which includes the development of new prototypes for each of the three new classes of ships – the Meraviglia class, Seaside Class and World Class.
In June 2017, MSC Cruises launched the first of these new ships, MSC Meraviglia in Le Havre France, and will welcome MSC Seaside to Miami in December. In June 2018, MSC Seaview will join the company’s fleet.
Under the nearly EUR 10 billion plan, six out of 11 new ships total will have come into service between June 2017 and November 2020, doubling MSC Cruises’ fleet capacity in just three and a half years.