Some analysts and media outlets may be predicting a major slowdown in new ship orders -- but news today that MSC Cruises will further expand its quickly growing fleet turns that theory on its head.
The Italian cruise line has signed a contract with Aker Yards to build two more ships, according to the shipyard's Web site. Though exact tonnage and design details for these two new-builds are yet to be released, the Aker Yards statement indicates that the ships will belong to the Musica class; those vessels measure 89,600 tons and carry 2,550 passengers.
MSC Cruises is one of the fastest growing lines in the industry with two ships coming onto the scene in 2008 alone (MSC Poesia launched in March, and MSC Fantasia -- its largest at 133,500 tons and carrying 3,300 passengers -- is due out later this year). MSC Splendida, a sister to MSC Fantasia, is planned for spring 2009; MSC Magnifica, the fourth ship in the Musica class, will launch in spring 2010.
The just-ordered vessels will be built at Aker's Saint-Nazaire yard for delivery in February 2011 and February 2012, respectively. Though signed, the contract is still subject to financing.