MSC Cruises and STX France have signed an order for the construction of a fifth Meraviglia class cruise ship.

Due to be delivered in 2023, the vessel will be equipped with a new generation of dual-fuel engines designed to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The announcement was made at a ceremony held at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard, where STX France and MSC Cruises celebrated three major milestones: the steel cutting ceremony of the 4th Meraviglia class vessel, which will be named MSC Virtuosa; the coin ceremony of MSC Grandiosa; and the float-out of MSC Bellissima.

For the first time in Saint-Nazaire’s history, three cruise ships belonging to a single cruise brand are under simultaneous construction at the shipyard.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman, said: “With the announcement of yet another new vessel, the 13th under our 10-year investment plan, we are affirming our commitment to sustainable growth for our Company. I say this while three more next-generation MSC Cruises ships are now simultaneously under construction.

“Our fifth Meraviglia class cruise ship will bring a new generation of cutting-edge environmental technology to the market, benefiting from a new generation of LNG-powered engines. This will help us further reduce our environmental footprint and advance in our journey of constant improvement.”

MSC Bellissima will be christened at a ceremony in Southampton on 2 March 2019. The ship will also be the first  to feature the digital cruise personal assistant, Zoe, as a new feature of MSC for Me, the company’s digital innovation programme. This service will provide guests with a simple and stress-free way to find out information that traditionally is asked in person at the guest relations desk.

The agreement for the additional Meraviglia ship represents an additional investment of €900 million.