(5:30 p.m. EST) -- MSC Cruises released new renderings of its MSC Seashore six months before its August debut, revealing a stylish ship that's built for people to spend time outdoors.
The natural follow-up to MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview, MSC Seashore will be the longest ship in the line's continually growing fleet, coming in at 1,112 feet. It's the largest ship ever built in Italy by Fincantieri, the line said in a news release.
MSC Cruises has been operating in Italy with a handful of ships under COVID-19 procedures, sailing within the country and also different countries in the Mediterranean when possible. When MSC Seashore enters service in August 2021, it will also offer Mediterranean cruises, sailing to Malta, Spain and France, as well as Italy.
Then, in November 2021, the ship will transfer to Miami, where it will sail weeklong itineraries to the Eastern and Western Caribbean and Bahamas, with stops at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the line's private island.
The ship's design was well under way before the COVID-19 pandemic, the line's Vice President of New Building Trevor Young told Cruise Critic in an interview.
But it's hard not to notice that the ship's focus on outdoor dining and lounging spaces, as well as a premium put on personal space, make MSC Seashore well positioned to offer the kind of vacation people will be seeking in the current era.
In total, the ship has 140,000 square feet of outdoor space, with more pools -- there are six -- as well as more bars and restaurants facing the water than on previous ships in the fleet.
"We want our passengers on these ships to enjoy the inside of the ship because there's so much to enjoy. But we're also saying, 'Why are you traveling?' You're here to see what's around you as well," Young said.
These pools aren't your typical ones. The ship has added a new infinity pool at the aft, with a glass wall that has an uninterrupted view of the ocean -- a first for the line. There are also two infinity whirlpools on the sides of the ship, each capable of seating up to 20 people.
To appeal to its international audience, the line made sure to offer different depths in the main Long Island pool, as well as some sunken lounge chairs for people who like to stay cool, even in the sun. The main pool also boasts a 360-degree water fountain island in the center, and is connected to the pirate-themed aquapark.
"We understand that Americans like to stand in the pool with your gin and tonic because why not, right?" Young said. "We've made sure that all the pools have a shallow and a deep end so that you can have that opportunity as well."
It's not always sunny, of course, so the Jungle Pool has a larger magrodome that can be closed to the elements when needed. There's also an additional deck around this pool for people to spread out -- another feature that will likely be more popular when cruising resumes after COVID-19 because it allows for some physical distancing. The buffet is not far from the Jungle Pool, making it a natural space for families to congregate.
MSC Seashore will also debut a new location for the Chef's Court, the area that houses the ship's five specialty restaurants. It's on Deck 8, giving the restaurants a better sea view and access to the waterfront promenade. The steakhouse Butcher's Cut will have outdoor seating and al fresco dining space, for example.
"The Chef's Court is very special ...," Young said. "You can go from a pre-dinner drink to a restaurant to a lounge, all outside if you wish, in that one area."
The buffet area on MSC Seashore will also have outdoor dining at the back of the ship, as well as the stylish Sky Bar. "It's just going to be absolutely amazing up there in the evening," Young said.
Another outside feature is the Bridge of Sighs, a glass-floored viewing point that will be on Deck 16 and overlook the Infinity Pool from 72 feet up at the back of the ship.
Finally, the aft area of the ship is also getting a new lounge, called Cabaret Rouge, on the two decks under the pool. The space has been designed to be under the infinity pool so passengers won't be bothered by the noise, Young said.
"We can run it until 3 or 4 a.m. if we want with loud music, because there's nothing above," he said.
Fans of MSC's signature Yacht Club -- the ship within a ship concept that delivers a more luxurious experience -- will take notice of MSC Seashore's version. The private space spans 32,291 square feet over four decks, with a wide variety of cabin types, including two 1,055-square-foot Owners Suites with private balconies, whirlpools and outdoor living area, as well as separate dining and living rooms.
The Yacht Club comes with a private outdoor area on all MSC ships where it exists, and the one on MSC Seashore is even bigger, with more amenities. The pool and sundeck have 21,528 square feet of space, with a larger private pool, a panoramic eight-seat hot tub and a standard hot tub.
As you'd expect from the cruise line that invented the oft-Instagrammed Swarovski crystal staircase at sea, luxurious design elements will be part of MSC Seashore's Yacht Club experience. The space has a large black onyx wall, Young said.
"We're taking it to the next level."