Miami travelers, if you don’t know Geneva-based cruise line MSC Cruises yet, you will soon.
The line is in the midst of a massive growth spurt, and Miami will get front row seats to its expansion.
The line took delivery of its newest ship, the 5,119-passenger MSC Seaside, Wednesday, which will call Miami home in December for voyages to the eastern and western Caribbean. It’ll be the second MSC ship to homeport in Miami, in addition to the 3,502-passenger Divina, which currently sails from Miami but will later move to offering seasonal voyages.
That’s because the line has already announced that its 4,488-passenger MSC Meraviglia will also come to Miami in late 2019.
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As for Seaside, the new ship will be quite unlike the other vessels sailing from PortMiami. Its outward-facing design resembles a floating condo, with two towers in the back. The ship has a two-floor, all-glass atrium with digital displays, four water slides, a small bowling alley, and the longest zip line at sea at 394 feet — almost five times longer than the 82-foot zip lines on Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis class ships.
The ship will have some Miami touches, too: The pool deck will be the Miami Beach Sundeck and another pool in the back of the ship has been christened the South Beach pool.
But the line’s expansion plans don’t stop there. MSC also announced Wednesday that it’s ordering two more ships for a Seaside EVO class, a further evolution of the Seaside class design, for a total investment of more than $2 billion. The new ships will be larger than the Seaside, with bigger cabins and room for up to 5,646 passengers. They are scheduled for delivery in 2021 and 2023, but itinerary details are not yet available.
Including the new ships, the company now has plans for 12 new ships to be built between this year and 2026. The nearly $12.5 billion investment will almost double the company’s 14-ship fleet.