As Meraviglia Launches, MSC Talks Of World-Class Plans

by Daniel McCarthy
As Meraviglia Launches, MSC Talks Of World-Class Plans

Rendering of the Y-shaped World Class prototype.

As MSC christens its first Meraviglia-class ship, big enough to hold 5,700 guests, it is looking ahead to a decade of transformation that will make it the world’s premier mass market brand.

Of the more than 10 ships on order over the next decade made through a $10.2 billion investment, MSC will end up with six different ship classes in its fleet, said executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, noting the new ship “emphasizes what the future and present of cruising is all about.”

MSC already has ships sailing in its Fantasia, Musica and Lirica classes. This weekend it took delivery of the first in its Meraviglia class; two more ships, Seaside and Seaview, will be added to the class over the next year. In 2019 MSC will begin carving out a Meraviglia-plus class, starting with MSC Bellisima. And then, at the latter half of the decade, it will add two 200,000-gross-ton ships, with an option for two more, to debut starting in 2022 as part of its World Class.

The ships are expected to be larger than Meraviglia, which debuted with a gross tonnage of 171,598 and a guest capacity of 5,714 this weekend.

Vago, along with CEO Gianni Onorato offered up some new details of World Class this weekend to an audience of industry insiders. The ships will be built with a brand new Y-shape that opens up inside cabins to outdoor space in the middle of the ship. While Meraviglia already operates with 75% of cabins with a balcony, the Y shape will allow that number to increase.

The Y ship will allow for an extended indoor/outdoor promenade, the longest at sea. MSC will add more details to create “the experience of the promenade in any European city.” The promenades will have a full art museum that MSC hopes will be filled with work from Italian art masters including Michelangelo and Raphael.

The Y shape also will allow for family-friendly villages, a panoramic aft, and a glass pool lounge, new features that MSC hopes will keep pushing its level of innovation.

Vago said the ships will also be designed to operate in ports around the world. “That, to us, is very important; we want to be able to go everywhere.”

Also new is a dedication to LNG power that Vago hopes will give MSC “zero percent impact on the environment.” While some other ships may use LNG in combination with traditional fuel sources, World Class will use LNG all the time.

Executives also talked about bringing some more partners from Meraviglia onboard other ships. MSC invested $20 million to accommodate Cirque du Soleil at Sea onboard its ships, building an exclusive on-site dinner lounge for up to 100 guests for each show. Other partnerships include Eataly, Lego, Technogym and Samsung, all of which are front and center on Meraviglia.

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