MSC Cruises took delivery of their first World-class ship, MSC World Europa, at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard St. Nazaire, France, on October 24.
A pair of opera singers performed a rendition of Con te Partiro (Time to Say Goodbye), followed by employees from the shipyard and cruise line lowering the French and Chantiers de l’Atlantique flags and the raising the Maltese and MSC Cruises flags, signifying the handover of ownership from the French shipyard to MSC Cruises, which has registered the ship in Malta.
Following a blessing by a priest, Gianluigi Aponte, owner of the MSC Cruises parent company, addressed the crowd in French, noting that long partnership between MSC Cruises and CDA, which has built a number of MSC ships currently in service. His grandniece then did the honors – cutting the blue ribbon attached to large bottle of Champagne. The ship’s whistle sounded a long, celebratory blast the moment the bottle hit the steel plates just above the ship’s name.
MSC World Europa departs soon for Qatar, where the official naming ceremony will be held. It’s then under charter to Qatar for accommodations during the 2022 World Cup. On December 20, the ship’s maiden voyage will be a sailing from Doha to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sir Bani Yas Island. In the March 2023, MSC World Europa will reposition to the Mediterranean to offer 7-night sailings with port calls in Italy, France, Spain, and Malta.
The ship is the first in the MSC fleet to be entirely powered by Liquid Natural Gas (LNG). The ship will also have a fuel cell, which will reduce direct dependence on the powerplant for onboard power. Underwater, the ship features new propulsion technology to reduce marine noise, lessening the impact on noise-sensitive ocean mammals like whales and dolphins. The ship will also have a shore-to-ship power connection, allowing for the ship to completely cease direct emissions while berthed at select ports.
MSC Cruises has committed to a 40% reduction in carbon emissions intensity by 2030, and the introduction of lower emission ships like MSC World Europa have projected reductions of 35% by 2024.
Concurrent with the delivery ceremony, MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique performed a steel-cutting ceremony, the traditional first act of beginning work on building a new ship—the second World-class ship for MSC Cruises. The cruise line also announced the ship will be named MSC World America and will be the largest MSC Cruises ship—and the first LNG-powered MSC ship— dedicated to the North American market. A sister to the MSC World Europa, the line has planned for specific aspects of the ship’s design to be tailored to North American guest tastes.
Onboard MSC World Europa, MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato told TravelPulse about the line’s distinctive onboard experience proposition to American travelers, “We believe part of the experience of the vacation is who you meet, and our cruise line is truly global in its passenger complements—American travelers will go home having perhaps dined next to Italians one night and French on another.”
He went on to describe that guest feedback has proven positive among American guests for the international makeup of the ships’ company, and for the more European feel and delivery of onboard service. In building MSC World America, the line hopes to strike a balance between delivering on that European tradition, while continuing to tailor some parts of the experience to better suit American tastes.
MSC Cruises will have five ships deployed in North America for the 2023-2024 cruise season, to be joined by MSC World America in 2025. The line has not yet announced details on homeport or itinerary plans but expects to open the first sailings for booking sometime in 2023. The ship will span 22 decks and have a beam of 150 feet to accommodate the Y-shaped aft portion with the 350-foot-long World Promenade, with overlooking balcony cabins, just a few of the over 2,600 cabins planned for the new ship.
MSC Cruises is the world’s third-largest cruise brand. The fleet will number 23 ships by the time MSC World America is launched in 2025, plus options for six more ships through 2030.