The development of MSC Cruises, which began in 2003, steams ahead at the Aker Yards in St. Nazaire, France, where there are four ships being built simultaneously: MSC Poesia, MSC Fantasia, MSC Splendida and MSC Magnifica. With an overall total of 450 000 tons of steel, MSC Cruises is on the way to having to having the most modern fleet in the world by 2010.
Construction on the first two ships is well advanced. MSC Poesia, the third ship in the “Musica” class (89,600 tons) is nearly ready for her official christening April 5 in Dover. MSC Fantasia (133,500 tons) is the largest ship built to date for a European ship owner. The technical phase for the float out was held on Feb. 8, when she was transported to the dock to be tested. She will remain there until she is completed. Her christening ceremony is set for Dec. 18 in Naples.
Meanwhile MSC Splendida (sister ship to MSC Fantasia) is being built at the same time. She will join the fleet in June 2009. Finally MSC Magnifica, the fourth ship in the “Musica” class, will be delivered in 2010.
To celebrate this unprecedented growth by the company and the excellent work carried out for the European cruising industry at the French shipyards, Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises, and Jacques Hardelay, General Manager for Aker Yards France, recently visited the yards to view the new ships. They toured MSC Poesia, the latest addition due to join the fleet in little more than seven weeks. In the evening guests attended a stylish dinner under the illuminated MSC Fantasia, creating a unique opportunity to experience the ambiance and personalized service of the MSC Yacht Club, the ship’s VIP area.
“Three years ago we made a huge commitment to the market,” declared Vago. “Now, with MSC Poesia, we are offering a unique five-star product, lavishing special attention on our guest. In true MSC Cruises fashion, we continue to provide many exciting facilities and elegant Italian design. Later this year, MSC Fantasia - the most beautiful ship in the world - will pioneer a new era of stylish cruises, where the ship itself becomes the destination. Our company will be carrying 800,000 passengers in 2008. Together with Aker Yards, we have developed and implemented the most innovative solutions to offer the best environmentally friendly cruises.”
“Today’s cruise market demands the best interiors, entertainment equipment and also high respect of the environment,” added Hardelay. “Aker Yards supports MSC Cruises in its development and offers a real partnership to bring its fleet to the leading edge of the leisure market.”
These four new ships will have a total of 5,824 staterooms, able to host 14,000 passengers. The public spaces in all four vessels will total more than 1 million square feet!