MSC Cruises has signed an agreement with shipbuilder STX France to construct two Meraviglia-class vessels.
The ships will be an addition to the existing contract with STX to construct 167,600t vessels that are scheduled to be delivered in 2017 and 2019.
MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago was quoted by media sources as saying: "Our long-standing cooperation with STX-France and the continued growth of our business allows me today to confirm well-ahead of time the existing options for two additional ships."
Valued at $1.7bn, the two ships are claimed to be the bigger version of the preceding Meraviglia-class vessels.
MSC was quoted by Marinelink.com as saying: "These are the biggest cruise ships yet built by a European operator, each using around 35,000t of steel."
The new series of the Meraviglia-class vessels, termed as Meraviglia-Plus, will have an increased length and breadth with 2,444 staterooms and accommodation for 4,888 guests.
The series of ships is expected to be delivered at the end of 2020.
MSC currently has an order of four ships in the pipeline with STX France and three more at Fincantieri.
MSC Meraviglia, the first of Vista generation ships being constructed under MSC Cruises’ $5.4bn investment plan, will be the biggest cruise ship in the company’s fleet.
First steel for the vessel was cut in April last year at STX France’s Saint Nazaire shipyard.
Image: An image of the pool outlay in the MSC Meraviglia cruise. Photo: courtesy of WP: NFCC#4.