Why has GNMTC ordered a cruise ship from STX France?  GNMTC stated in a press release that it plans to expand the company by entering the cruise industry. If the company plans to start up its own traditional cruise line, the timing could not be worse, unless it is targeting a so-far reportedly untapped Arab market in the Middle East and Northern Africa as well as in Western Europe. Or, the company may plan to use the ship unconventionally as a floating trade show. GNMTC has stated that the new ship will be similar to the MSC Splendida and Fantasia in design and architecture, but greater in size and carrying more passengers.

The tonnage is reported to be 139,400 with a passenger capacity of 3,468 double occupancy, based on cabin count, and a maximum capacity of 4,000. The overall length will be about 333 meters, with a beam just short of 38 meters and draft of 8.7 meters. The references to MSC could also indicate a partnership between the two shipping companies, going forward, easing some of the investment and growth burden for MSC. Another possibility is that the ship can be chartered to another existing operator, giving Thomson, for instance, a brand new ship.  But the Libyan state-owned shipping company has not said much.