MSC Cruises put Royal Caribbean on notice with new ‘World Class’ mega ships

MSC Cruises has confirmed an order with STX France for the construction of two gargantuan 200,000-gross ton LNG-powered mega cruise ships that will compete directly with Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class fleet.

The order was confirmed during the delivery ceremony for MSC Cruises latest newbuild, MSC Meraviglia, the largest cruise ship ever built for a European cruise line. MSC Meraviglia set sail for the Port of Le Havre for her christening ceremony on 3 June.

“Today, as we unveil MSC Meraviglia, a new vessel that marks the start of the next phase of our growth, we are delighted to confirm another key component of our ten-year investment plan: the World Class,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman.

MSC Cruises World Class cruise ships take design cues from Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class

Proposed designs for the ‘World Class’ cruise ships take inspiration from Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class with a vast interior atrium.

“These new vessels will further expand our partnership with STX France all the way to 2026, with up to seven additional innovative ships to be built during this period,” he added.

The order is for two of these new ‘World Class’ cruise ships, but includes an option for an additional two, according to a press release from MSC Cruises.

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In connection with the signing, MSC Cruises and STX France today also unveiled several key features of the World Class. Among other innovations, they will be equipped with a completely new generation of LNG-powered engines as well as a new generation waste water treatment system.

The new World Class cruise ships, due for delivery in 2022 and 2024, will have 2,760 cabins and a maximum occupancy of 6,850 guests, the highest passenger capacity in the global cruise fleet. The two options, if finalised, will be delivered in 2025 and 2026.

The World Class’ futuristic “Y” shape structure will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships’ G bow (vertically positioned at a 90 degree angle) has been designed to improve stability and hydrodynamics.

All four ships will be near-identical, with a length of 330 metres and a 47 metre beam, putting them in the same class as the Oasis-class cruise ships operated by Royal Caribbean. At 220,000-gross tons the Oasis of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will remain the largest cruise ships in the world.

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STX France is the same shipyard that built the three ships, and this latest order from MSC Cruises cements its position as the leading mega cruise ship facility. “Once again, MSC Cruises has chosen to put their trust in our capacity to support their growth and expansion as well as in our ability to conceive, develop and build the world’s most modern and technologically-advanced cruise ships,” said STX France’s CEO Laurent Castaing.

The World Class cruise ships will be the largest ever built with an LNG power plant.

“By adding the new World Class to the four previous ship classes that we have delivered over the past 15 years, the number of vessels in their fleet built by STX France in Saint-Nazaire is set to reach 20. Our exceptional industrial partnership continues to benefit an entire region,” he added.

The World Class’ futuristic “Y” shape structure will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships’ G bow (vertically positioned at a 90 degree angle) has been designed to improve stability and hydrodynamics.

Other guest-centric innovations include family-friendly villages, a panoramic aft, and a glass pool lounge.

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