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French shipyard STX has received an order worth nearly $4.5bn from MSC Cruises to build four new liquefied natural gas (LNG)powered cruise ships that will weigh more than 200,000 gross tonnes.

The recent order, which is said to be part of MSC Cruise’s ten years investment plan, spanning from 2014 to 2026 to procure 11 next-generation ships, has raised the total investment amount to nearly $10.2bn.

STX France will provide their engineering and production capabilities to build the four Meraviglia class ships.

“The four ships will be modelled on a new advanced next-generation prototype and will replicate a ‘world-class’ form of MSC.”

The four ships will be modelled on a new advanced next-generation prototype and will replicate a ‘world-class’ form of MSC.

The ships are expected to be delivered from 2022, 2024, 2025, and 2026.

According to MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, the new cruiseships will offer an array of amenities for the guests, with features suited for families, as well as adults.

He stated the ships will be designed using the latest methods, featuring smart technology at sea, utilising the available environmentally-friendly technology, and will be propelled by LNG-powered engines.

The ships will feature more than 2,700 staterooms and approximately 5,400 lower berth occupancy capacity, allowing an open air space available to guests.

The fleet will be suited for itineraries across all the seasons and for all regions.

STX Frances CEO Laurent Castaing said: "We have already designed four different classes for MSC Cruises, Lirica , Musica, FantAsia and Meraviglia, each with four ships, and now we are working together on this new generation of world class ships.

"By 2026, that makes a total of 20 ships that will have been designed and built by STX France in Saint-Nazaire."

MSC Cruises has also placed orders with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build three next-generation Seaside Class ships.