MSC Armonia has been relaunched by MSC Cruises after being cut in half and a nearly 80-foot section added to the middle of the ship in a ‘stretching’ process.
The makeover to the 58,625-ton Armonia, was performed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, Italy. There are three other ships in the class to undergo the stretching process which has been named the ‘Renaissance Program’ and will include MSC Opera, MSC Sinfonia and MSC Lirica.
The stretching process and refurbishment will add 193 passenger cabins and 59 crew cabins along with new balcony cabins, public spaces and several new kids facilities. There will also be a new outdoor water park on the Armonia, called ‘Spray Park’, which will incorporate interactive jets, slides and water features. It is also the first cruise ship to feature children’s facilities designed and equipped by Chicco and LEGO.
The stretching on all four Mistral-class vessels, that are more than 10 years old, will add capacity for several hundred additional passengers and crew.
The Renaissance Programme, costing 200 million euros, is the first step in a 5 billion euro fleet enlargement plan which will include four new ships in two classes that will be delivered by STX France and Fincantieri, in Italy, between 2017 and 2019. There is a option to gain three more by 2022.
On August 31 Armonia entered dry dock and the cutting of the ship began on September 2. The two halves of the ship were finally separated on September 10 by about 100 feet which allowed the new section of the ship to be manoeuvred into place. After 11 weeks in dry dock, the Armonia returned to service and its first cruise will be a one-off Mediterranean cruise from Genoa to the Canry Islands.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Warrenski