Construction commences on MSC Bellissima, the third of eleven next-generation ships due to come into service over the next ten years

MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, and STX France, a world leader in the construction of innovative cruise ships, held a traditional steel cutting ceremony at STX France in Saint Nazaire on Monday to mark the official commencement of construction of MSC Bellissima, the second of the Meraviglia generation of ships that will come into service in 2019.The first steel plate that will form the ship’s hull section was cut in front of a group of employees from both companies to celebrate another important milestone for both partners.
Speaking at the Steel Cutting Ceremony in Saint Nazaire, Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, commented: “MSC Cruises and STX France have walked a long path together since the construction of MSC Lirica in 2003. Our current fleet was built at STX France and we are now shaping the future of the modern cruise ship two new prototypes from STX France. With work nearing competion on MSC Meraviglia we are delighted to begin construction of MSC Bellissima.”

Mr Vago continued, “I am delighted with this prototype, which will soon become a beautiful and balanced cruise ship capable of operating everywhere in the world. I am also extremely pleased that my wife, Alexa Aponte-Vago, has been able to join me here in Saint Nazaire to share this important milestone.”

Laurent Castaing, STX France Chief Executive Officer, commented: ”We are proud to be MSC Cruises’ industrial partner from the beginning and we are very involved in their fleet development. It is very challenging and we have passed an important milestone with the MERAVIGLIA generation. Meraviglia literally means wonder and the four new ships will astonish the public with their elegant and beautiful design. MSC Bellissima is as well named as her sistership.”

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises Chief Executive Officer, said: “As the cruise industry continues to grow we are commited to building elegant and innovative ships, a product offering that surprises and delights our guests with rich and varied itineraries. The Meraviglia generation ships are really quite unique and have been designed to take the onboard experience to the next level with the latest technology and exceptional design features to meet the needs of guests of all ages.”

MSC Bellissima has been designed to operate in all seasons and to call in most of the world’s international cruise ports. As her name suggests, MSC Bellissima will embody the beauty and magnificence of the next-generation of MSC Cruises’ ultramodern mega-ships, rich with new features and amenities for guests of all ages and interests.

With a gross tonnage of 167,600 GRT and capacity for more than 5,700 guests, this new cruise ship will be the largest in MSC Cruises’ fleet, along with MSC Meraviglia.