MSC Cruises has signed a contract with Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard for the construction of two additional World-Class ships and two new ship classes.
The latest World-Class ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and will be delivered in 2025 and 2027.
The first of the initial two ships in the class is currently under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire and is due to enter service in 2022. At 205,000 GT, she will become the biggest vessel operated by a European cruise line.
The two companies also signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a new prototype class of LNG-powered ships. Comprising four new vessels, these will be built between 2025 and 2030.
Finally, the shipyard has been contracted to build another prototype ship class concept for MSC Cruises that will “explore opportunities that wind power and other advanced technologies could bring to passenger shipping”.
The agreements represent an investment in excess of €6.5 billion.
The news was announced at a ceremony held at the Matignon Palace, the French prime minister’s (who was in attendance) official residence.
The prestigious occasion also attended by MSC group’s founder and executive chairman, Gianluigi Aponte; MSC Cruises’ executive chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago; and Chantiers de l’Atlantique’s general manager, Laurent Castaing.
Vago said: “The three agreements signed today extend our investment plan up to 2030.
“They stem from an exceptional partnership, with Chantiers de l’Atlantique, that has already delivered 15 highly innovative cruise ships over the past two decades and will see many more vessels come to life at Saint-Nazaire’s docks in the next ten years.
“They also confirm this industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability, in this case helping the French national industry further position itself as a world leader in the development of next-generation technologies and other solutions.”
Castaing said: “We are really proud and happy to have built such an outstanding relationship with MSC Cruises, based on mutual trust and driven by the spirit of innovation.
“We are both committed to shaping the cruise of tomorrow and to developing ship concepts which go far beyond current environmental standards. Our companies have already been working together for twenty years and these new projects allow us to look enthusiastically to the future.”