MSC Cruises places order for two 4,170-passenger ships

By Tom Stieghorst
MSC Seaside classMSC Cruises said it has ordered two large ships that will cost about $1.9 billion at current exchange rates.

Each ship will have the capacity to carry 4,170 passengers at double occupancy.

The ships, designated as Seaside class, will be the largest ever built by Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard at 154,000 gross tons.

The order comes on the heels of a previous two-ship order placed by MSC at the STX France shipyard for two 4,500-passenger ships, with options for two more.

MSC said the ships ordered from Fincantieri are scheduled for delivery in November 2017 and May 2018. The ships being built in France are for delivery in 2017 and 2019.

MSC's executive chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, said the Seaside ships will be futuristic in their structure, shape and versatility. He said the financing for the ships is coming in part from the insurance and finance company SACE.

There is an option for a third ship in the Seaside class.

MSC's CEO,Gianni Onorato, said the order is the last piece of a 5 billion euro investment to double MSC’s capacity by 2022.

MSC said the Seaside prototype includes a sea-level promenade that circumnavigates the sides of the ship with outdoor spaces, shops and restaurants. The theater, a terraced balcony and panoramic lifts with sea views will be other highlights, MSC said.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.
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