BY THE SEASIDE
MSC Cruises has cut the first steel on MSC Seaside, marking a new generation of ships and a seven-ship investment plan that will double its capacity by 2022. The 5,179-passenger MSC Seaside will be the biggest ship built to date in the Italian Fincantieri shipyards. The ship, set to debut in November 2017, will be based year-round in Miami and sail a wide range of Caribbean itineraries. A second identical ship will enter service in 2018. MSC Cruises also has an option for an additional Seaside generation ship to be delivered by 2021. In other news, also two years ahead of its inaugural cruise, MSC Cruises recently announced the opening of sales for MSC Meraviglia, the line’s other next-generation ship.
LUXURY ON THE WATER
There’s much excitement about the new vessel for Regent Seven Seas that’s being billed as the most luxurious ever. Regent Seven Seas’ 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer is scheduled to debut in July 2016, and claims the highest ratio of space to passengers in the history of cruising, along with some of the most opulent suites at sea.
NORWEGIAN BREAKS AWAY
Scheduled to debut in October, the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape will have the largest aqua park at sea; largest ropes course at sea, a miniature golf course, a full-size basketball court and a bocce ball court. The vessel is an expanded version of Norwegian’s popular Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Breakaway, and will be the line’s largest ship to date. NCL is also currently building two new Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships for delivery in the second quarter 2018 and fourth quarter 2019.
Ovation of the Seas, the fourth largest cruise ship in the world (eclipsed only by sister ships Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas) and the largest and most technologically advanced ship to ever call Australia home, has had one of her blocks floated out of the construction hall at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Delivery is expected to be in mid-2016. Bookings are open for Ovation’s first Australian season, with three Australian and New Zealand sailings and a repositioning sailing all departing Sydney in December 2016.
VIKINGS AT SEA
A little more than a month after Viking Ocean Cruises christened its first ship, Viking Star, a second ship, the 930-passenger Viking Sea, has been floated out at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard in Italy. Viking Sea is set to launch in early 2016; while the company’s third ship on order, Viking Sky, is also currently under construction and will debut in 2017. All three ships will sail popular routes in Scandinavia, the Baltic, and the Western and Eastern Mediterranean.