Work has started on MSC Cruises‘ €200 million (£160 million) project to stretch four of the line’s ships. The first, MSC Armonia, was cut in two in a dry dock in Palermo, Sicily, today; over the next few weeks a pre-fabricated 24 metre mid-section will be welded in place, adding extra cabins, public rooms, and crew space.
The Renaissance Project will then repeat the procedure on sister ships MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera, and MSC Lirica, all built between 2003 and 2005. They are each 251 metres long, measuring 60,000 gross tons, and carrying 2,199 passengers.
After the lengthening, they will be 275 metres long, 65,000 gross tons, and with an extra 193 cabins, a total passenger capacity of 2,679. The work involves each ship being cut in two just forward of the funnel, and then separated to make way for the new section.
The modifications include installation of passenger cabins in place of a public lounge on Deck 7; installation of balconies for cabins on Deck 9; new lounge, library and teen club on Deck 6; children’s clubs and improvements to the buffet on Deck 11; and a refit of the pool area with a children’s water park on Deck 12.
Each ship will take approximately nine weeks to lengthen and refit. The new-look Armonia is scheduled to leave the dockyard on November 17. Work will start on Sinfonia in January, Opera in May and Lirica in August.