MSC Cruises has awarded a contract to STX France for the construction of the fifth Meraviglia class cruise ship.

Scheduled to be delivered in 2023, the vessel will see an additional investment of €900m.

Featuring new-generation dual-fuel engines that will operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG), the vessel will be equipped with an advanced wastewater treatment system and other new environmental technologies to fulfil the latest regulatory standards.

MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “With the announcement of yet another vessel, the 13th under our ten-year investment plan, we are affirming our commitment to sustainable growth for our company.”

STX France is also engaged in the development of three other MSC Cruises at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard.

During the announcement, the steel-cutting ceremony of the fourth Meraviglia class vessel was also conducted. This vessel was named MSC Virtuosa.

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Vago added: “Our fifth Meraviglia-class cruise ship will bring a new generation of cutting-edge environmental technology to the market, benefitting 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.”

“This will help us further reduce our environmental footprint and advance in our journey of constant improvement.”

The two other vessels, namely MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa, are scheduled to be launched in Southampton on 2 March next year and in Hamburg in November next year, respectively.

Headquartered in Switzerland, MSC Cruises operates cruise voyages in Europe and South America.

The company currently has 15 ultra-modern ships and plans to expand its fleet to 25 mega-cruise ships by 2026 with an investment of €11.6bn.