MSC Cruises has signed a Letter of Intent – the next best thing to a firm contract – for four mega cruise ships carrying 5,400 passengers each to be built by STX France.
The ships, classified by MSC as World Class, will be of about 200,000 tons and have eco-friendly dual power, using diesel and LNG (liquified natural gas)
The significance of the deal, for both companies, was marked by the fact that it was announced at the Palace of Versailles, in front of French president Francois Hollande. The French government holds a one-third stake in STX.
The four ships – two firm orders and two further options – are scheduled for delivery in 2022, 2024, 2025, and 2026. They bring MSC’s total order book to 11 ships and €9 billion. It comprises two Meraviglia-class ships to be delivered in 2017 and 2019; two Meraviglia-Plus (2019 and 2020); three Seaside Class (above) coming in 2017, 2018 and 2021; plus the four World Class announced today.
MSC Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, said: “Today’s announcement is further proof of our view that this industry presents significant opportunities for additional growth. For this reason, our ten-plus year investment plan now encompasses up to eleven new MSC Cruises ships coming into service between 2017 and 2026.
“It is also a reflection of our constant commitment to innovation as we will partner with STX France to design yet again a completely new type of ship. The new MSC Cruise World Class prototype will feature – amongst other highly innovative elements – a futuristic design that will maximise the open space available to our guests.”
Laurent Castaing, STX France Chief Executive Officer, added: “We have just signed an exceptional agreement with MSC Cruises that will give us a vision of our industrial capacity for the next 10 years. We have already designed four different classes for MSC– Opera, Musica, Fantasia and Meraviglia – each with four ships, and now we are working together on this new generation of ‘World Class’ ships. By 2026, a total of 20 ships will have been designed and built by STX France in Saint-Nazaire for MSC Cruises.”