At the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy; MSC Cruises proudly took delivery of its newest ship, the 4134-passenger MSC Seaside. Alongside this momentous occasion, it also signed a contract that will see the introduction and inception of a new class of ship, to be known as Seaside EVO.
Of this new class, the chairman of MSC Cruises, Pierfranceso Vago stated: “It’s an evolution of the Seaside platform; an extension.” EVO will be longer than the Seaside Class, home to 2,280 cabins and weighing in at 169,380 tons. However, seafarers will have to wait until 2021 and 2023 until they have a chance to sail on them.
Following MSC Seaside’s blessing, madrina Asya Aponte – the granddaughter of MSC founder and chairman Gianluigi Aponte – cut a ribbon to successfully smash a bottle of Champagne against the vessel’s hull. As part of the traditional flag ceremony, the ship’s Fincantieri flag was replaced with an MSC one, an act that marked the official handover of the vessel from the shipyard to the cruise line.
Passengers watched from the onboard theatre, where they were joined by executives from the cruise line and the shipyard, along with local government officials and Italian President, Sergio Mattarella.
To mark the occasion, a bottle filled with the first water to touch the ship’s hull was presented to the cruise line, and Seaside’s singers and dancers thrilled spectators with a showcase of their talents.
MSC Seaside left the shipyard on November 29, sailing to Trieste before starting its maiden voyage on December 1: a 22-night transatlantic cruise that ends in Miami, where the ship will be based. As the first of two ships in its class, MSC Seaside is the line’s first vessel built specifically for the North American market. Furnished with amenities that are both relaxing and pulse-racing, it features huge outdoor space, the longest zipline at sea and all-new entertainment, amongst a whole host of other features.
Its sister ship, MSC Seaview, is currently under construction at Fincantieri and is set for a 2018 launch. It is one of three ships, the others being MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa, that will be built simultaneously for the line.
Of its ever-expanding fleet, Gianluigi Aponte said: “We’re determined to become one of the most important cruise operators [in existence]” during a press conference following the flag ceremony, “in the future, we’ll be able to grow a lot.”
By 2023, MSC Cruises have plans to launch 12 new vessels as part of an investment in new hardware that will more than double the size of its fleet. Though details haven’t been announced, we’re sure that its increasing fleet will bring with them new itineraries and locations that’ll expand cruisers’ horizons.