Two months after announcing it had ordered two new giant ships, European cruise line MSC Cruises announced Thursday that it is adding another two vessels to its rapidly expanding fleet — with the option for a third in the class.
The latest contract, for the “Seaside” prototype, is with Italian ship builder Fincantieri. Each of the just-announced 154,000-ton ships, which will be able to accommodate 4,140 passengers at double occupancy, will cost more than $955 million. They are scheduled for delivery in November 2017 and May 2018; the company said it would deploy the vessels in the Mediterranean, South America and the Caribbean.
The Geneva-based cruise operator announced in March that it had signed a letter of intent with shipyard STX France to order two new 4,500-passenger ships with the option of ordering two more. Those 167,000-ton vessels are expected to be completed in 2017 and 2019. If MSC has all four of the ships in that class built, the cost would amount to roughly $4 billion.
In a statement, MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said Thursday’s announcement was the last part of a new “industrial plan that will allow us to double the capacity of our fleet by 2022.”