MSC Picks Up Another Ship From Festival/First European Fallout

July 22, 2004
European shipbuilding trade media outlets are reporting today that MSC Cruises has purchased European Stars at auction in Barcelona. The 58,600-ton, 1,500-passenger ship, which will be renamed Sinfonia, will begin sailing in March after a refurbishment.

Sinfonia joins Festival/First European's near-identical European Vision, which has been renamed Armonia and which was also acquired at auction.

More details from MSC on the new acquisition, which took place last week, were not available today.

The company has been on a major growth binge since last year when it debuted the fleet's MSC Lirica, the first ever built-for-MSC ship. This spring, it launched MSC Opera, a Lirica sibling. In addition, the company recently announced it had placed an order to build two more new ships (with an option on a third); these yet-to-be-named 3,000-passenger vessels -- the largest in MSC history -- will be constructed at France's Chantiers de l'Atlantique (birthplace of Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and Celebrity's Millennium class). Delivery is pegged for June 2006 for the first, and spring 2007 for the second.

The Switzerland-based cruise line, founded in just 1987, originally developed its fleet by acquiring classic vessels.