MSC Cruises has announced the extraordinary expansion of its fleet with the order of two additional ships from the Aker Yards France at St. Nazaire.

The announcement was made at a press conference today in Milan, attended by Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises worldwide, and Domenico Pellegrino, General Manager of MSC Cruises, as well as Jacques Hardelay, General Manager of Aker Yards France.

The new ships – due for delivery in 2011 and 2012 - will be named MSC Meraviglia ("marvelous/amazing") and MSC Favolosa ("fabulous") and will be the fifth and sixth sister ships in the "Musica" class, at 93,000 tons and with 1,275 staterooms and a capacity of 2,550 passengers, double occupancy.

"I can say with pride that MSC Cruises has the most modern fleet in the world," declared Vago.
"The arrival of MSC Meraviglia and MSC Favolosa carries us forward to 2012, with more than 1.4 million guests to whom we can offer a product that has been designed, engineered and presented as only MSC Cruises knows how. We now play a key role on the global market, successfully acting as an ambassador for Italian style worldwide."

MSC Meraviglia and MSC Favolosa will join the current fleet for a total of 14 ships and more than 1.4 million passengers carried by 2012. These two ships will complete the development plan that has allowed the company to achieve a series of records:

- the most modern fleet in the world: most of the ships are less than 5 years old;
- an investment of 5.5 billion Euros between 2003 and 2009 for the construction of 10 new generation ships, subdivided into three classes: Lirica class (60,000 tons), Musica class (93,000 tons), Fantasia class (133,500 tons);
- the largest cruise company with entirely European capital;
- two super-flagships -- MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, at 133,500 tons – will be the largest ships ever built for a European shipping company;
- the first company to receive the ‘6 Golden Pearls’ from the Bureau Veritas

"The new orders are the result of a careful evaluation of trends in the cruise industry in recent years," declared Pellegrino. "Over the first months of 2008, the cruise market grew by 13% while, in the same period, the company recorded an increase equal to 32% in terms of passengers. This result was achieved also thanks to the confidence that the sales channel has been showing us year after year. Based on these figures, we indeed foresee a rosy future for both the cruise sector and MSC Cruises."

Construction will start on MSC Meraviglia and MSC Favolosa under the guidance of the Korean STX Shipbuilding at the Aker Yards France.

"The strong relationship which already exists between MSC Cruises and Aker Yards has been reinforced by this contract. We look forward to continuing our innovative cooperation with MSC Cruises in order to offer unique cruise experiences to MSC Cruises' passengers. We are ready and happy to take up this new challenge," said Hardelay.