MSC Cruises Cuts Steel for First Meraviglia Plus-class Ship, MSC Grandiosa; Coin Ceremony Held for MSC Bellissima

November 15, 2017
Steel cutting for MSC Grandiosa

(2:30 p.m. GMT) -- MSC Cruises' newest ship, the first in the line's forthcoming Meraviglia Plus Class, will be called MSC Grandiosa.

The name was announced at the ship's steel cutting ceremony Wednesday at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, marking the official kick-off of the vessel's construction.

Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: "MSC Grandiosa is named to signify magnificence and grandeur, a fitting name for this even richer, ultra-modern mega-ship."

Grandiosa is one of four ships currently under construction for MSC, which is slated to launch 11 new vessels between 2017 and 2020 as part of a €9 billion plan to double the fleet's size.

Others currently being built include North America-focused ship MSC Seaside, which launches next month and will head straight to Miami, where it will be christened and based. Seaside's sister ship, MSC Seaview, follows next year.

The fourth is MSC Bellissima, a 181,000-ton, 6,334-passenger identical twin to MSC Meraviglia, which launched in June. Bellissima is also being built at STX France, where its coin ceremony and keel laying were held today, immediately following Grandiosa's steel cutting.

A coin ceremony is a ship building tradition, which signifies the start of the construction of the vessel and involves two madrinas (or godmothers) leaving two newly-minted coins under the hull of the ship. They serve as a symbol of good luck.

"Today as we celebrate a cutting of the first steel and then a keel laying in the same day, we are living an unprecedented experience that marks the beginning of a new era, both for our client and for our yard," Laurent Castaing, general manager of STX France, said of the dual event.

Highlights planned for Grandiosa and Bellissima feature onboard fine-art museums, indoor promenades with virtual skies overhead, extensive water parks, indoor amusement park areas and new entertainment, including Cirque du Soleil performances. The line also revealed that Bellissima will have a French bistro onboard.

--By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor