MSC Cruises and STX France signed an order for the construction
of a fifth Meraviglia-class ship, bringing its backlog of ships on order and
under construction to nine.
Due to be delivered in 2023, the 4,816-passenger ship will
be equipped with a new generation of dual‐fuel engines designed to run on
liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The cost of the unnamed ship is $1.06 billion, bringing the
value of MSC ships on order to $10.5 billion.
MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said that the opportunity to
gain a spot in a shipyard to build new vessels has become very competitive.
"Today there are only three top-qualified yards able to
build cruise ships. We're not the only ones building ships. The yards are quite
busy. We try to take our position there in order to ensure the growth of the
company," Onorato said.
The new ship order was announced at the STX France shipyard
in Saint-Nazaire in the presence of Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of the
Economy and Finance.
For the first time in Saint‐Nazaire's history, three cruise
ships belonging to a single cruise brand are under simultaneous construction at
the yard. In a ceremony on Thursday, MSC and STX officials cut steel for the
4th Meraviglia class vessel, which will be named MSC Virtuosa; then held a coin
welding ceremony on the keel of the MSC Grandiosa and then floated out the MSC
Remarkably, MSC is not the brand with the most ships on
order. Viking Ocean has 14 vessels on order or under construction, including
the Viking Orion due in July.
But the Viking ships, each built for 928 passengers,
collectively cost $5.6 billion, about half the value of MSC's nine much larger