Mediterranean Shipping Cruises (MSC) has ordered a 60,000-ton, 1,600-passenger ship from Chantiers de l'Atlantique for delivery in spring of 2003. The contract value is $250 million.

The new ship will increase MSC's capacity from its present 2,400 berths to 4,000.

In a prepared statement, MSC President Gianluigi Aponte said the new ship represents the first phase of plans to achieve a major share of the cruise market and the expansion and renewal of the MSC fleet.

MSC also said that negotiations were underway for a second ship for delivery in 2004.