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Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri has been awarded a €2.1bn contract to build two new cruise ships for MSC Cruises , an Italian-Swiss cruise line.

Dubbed ‘Seaside’, the new prototype ship are claimed to be the largest cruise ship ever built by Fincantieri.

Each ship will cost €700m and the amount will be funded with support from insurance and financial company Sace .

MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Seaside is a futuristic prototype because of its structure, shape and versatility. Working closely with Fincantieri we are getting ready for the new and compelling challenge that the construction of these ships represents.”

Equipped with 2,070 guest cabins, the new 323m long and 41m-wide ships will have a gross tonnage of 154,000t and can accommodate up to 5,300 passengers and 1,413 crew members.

“With the arrival of the new ships, we will reach a capacity of about 80,000 passengers a day.”

Designed to be able to dock in any port around the world, the new Seaside prototype ships will feature a sea-level promenade, spacious theatre, a terraced balcony and panoramic lifts with sea views. Furthermore, the ships are expected to reduce fuel consumption by 25%.

MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said: “Today, MSC Cruises adds the last piece to its new industrial plan that will allow us to double the capacity of our fleet by 2022. With the arrival of the new ships, we will reach a capacity of about 80,000 passengers a day.

“As of today we have launched an investment plan of over €5bn that includes new builds, ordered in Italy and France, and the conversion of four ships already in the fleet.”

The addition of two new ships will bring the total MSC Cruises’ fleet to 14. The contract also includes an option for construction of one more ship.

The first ship will be delivered to MSC Cruises in November 2017, with the second in May 2018.

Image: MSC’s futuristic cruise ships will feature a ground-breaking design. Photo: MSC Crociere S.A.