MSC Cruises held a keel and coin laying ceremony at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy this week to mark the start of construction for their new cruise ship MSC Seaview, the second ship in MSC Cruises’ Seaside Class.
The ceremony was held on a cold and rainy day, which Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincactieri said was a sign of good luck for the new cruise ship.
“A wet bride is a lucky bride – [MSC] can be happy that a wet ship is a lucky ship,” he told assembled dignitaries and member of the media.
MSC Seaview will be a sister ship to MSC Seaside, which is due to be launched in December, with her inauguration due in Miami the same month. MSC Seaview and Seaside will be the largest ships ever built in Italy, and will mark MSC Cruises’ entry into the mega-ship cruise market.
The keel laying marks the first step in a ship’s construction, although it is a term that harkens back to when ships were built from the keel up. MSC Seaview, like all modern cruise ships, is being built in blocks that are welded together like giant Lego pieces.
Giuseppe Bono’s remark that he hoped the two ships would not be the last to be ordered from Fincactieri drew a laugh, as MSC Cruises has committed to spending US $10-billion on expanding its fleet during the next several years.
The two Seaside-class ships represent just US $2.7-billion of that investment.
Several important announcements for MSC Cruises were made during the event, all focusing on the Italian cruise line’s commitment to expanding in the North American cruise market.
Officials from the Port of Miami were on hand to confirm that MSC Cruises will have three ships homeporting in Florida from 2020. MSC Divina will be joined on her Caribbean itineraries by MSC Seaside, and MSC Meraviglia.
Executive chairman of MSC Cruises, Pierfrancesco Vago said that the design of the Seaside-class ships was intended to resonate with North American cruise passengers.
“I want people to drive by the port, in Miami, and see the ship and say, ‘What the hell is that?'” he said, referring to the aft design of the ships, which includes a glass walkway over the sea and large aft balcony cabins with a Miami condo-style design aesthetic.
Other new features of the Seaside Class include a large aquapark with five slides and interactive features and the highest ratio of outdoor space at sea. According to Cruise Critic, the ships will also be the first MSC vessels to carry an English name, but this isn’t strivctly correct.
They are the first newbuild cruise ships to have an English name, but MSC Cruises has operated several second-hand ships with English names, including MSC Symphony, MSC Rhapsody, MSC Opera and MSC Melody.
When Seaside is christened in Miami, it will also be the first MSC ship christened in the United States.
MSC Seaview will measure 160,000 GRT and carry 5,179 passengers, offering Western Mediterranean itineraries from Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona beginning in June 2018.
After its summer season, the ship will deploy to Brazil in November 2018.