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A part of STX Europe international ship-building group STX France has signed a letter of intent (LOI) with MSC Cruises for the building of two new cruise ships, with an option for additional two.

The cruise ships will be built on STX’s ECORIZON programme, making them clean, efficient and technologically advanced.

Each ship will be 1,033ft long and 141ft wide, with a gross tonnage of about 167,600t.

The ships will house 2,250 guest cabins, 820 crew cabins and will accommodate a total of 5,700 passengers and 1,536 crew members.

The crusie ships will be equipped with scrubbers, which will neutralise the fumes and maintain CO2 emissions levels in line with international maritime regulations. They will also be free from water emissions.

The hull and propulsion systems will provide improved energy efficiency.

New features of the cruise ships’ interiors will include specially designed cabins for families, duplex suites, an extended MSC Yacht Club and a private club on the foredecks with a large solarium, private lounge and restaurant.

Construction of the vessels is due to commence in spring 2015 and they are expected to be delivered in 2017 and 2019, respectively.

MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said the launch of this prototype and the building of two new ships confirm the company’s commitment to further growth and to further development.

"MSC Cruises will expand its capacity by 31%; we will incredibly enrich our offer onboard and we will broaden our horizons to ensure we meet the growing global demand in every region," Vago said.

The two ships will join MSC Cruises’ fleet, which currently consists of 12 ships that were built in the Saint-Nazaire yards.

Image: MSC Cruises and STX France sign a letter of intent for two prototype cruise ships. Photo: courtesy of PRNewsFoto/MSC Cruises USA.