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2017-12-13 06:02
PHOTO: Carolyn BorchardMSC Cruises has now just placed an order for its biggest cruise ship ever. The new class will be called the MSC World Class.

PHOTO: Carolyn BorchardMSC Cruises has now just placed an order for its biggest cruise ship ever. The new class will be called the MSC World Class.

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WITH our local cruise season on the Armonia class MSC Sinfonia, well under way, have you ever wondered where MSC ships are born?

Just under four hours by train from Paris, on the west coast of France, in the Pays de la Loire region, lays Saint Nazaire, a town best known for its shipbuilding industry, which began in the 19th century. In 1862 the port became the departure and arrival point for France’s first transatlantic crossings to South America and soon a centre for building ocean liners.

It is here at STX France, a company dedicated to maritime construction and leader in the design, building and commissioning of highly complex ships, that MSC’s cruise liners are conceived. Situated on the Loire Estuary, Saint Nazaire makes no apologies for not being the prettiest town in France, but for big machinery, ambitious engineering and military history, there are few places that can hold a torch to it.

Super machines continue to be assembled here, and amongst them MSC’s new giants. The beaches along its coastline are also some of the best in the Loire-Atlantic.

I was exceptionally fortunate to have joined the MSC Preziosa (a Fantasia class ship) as she made her way out of this very shipyard, on her maiden voyage, to be christened by Sophia Loren in Genoa in 2013.

A bucket-list and certainly one of a kind experience.

MSC Cruises has now just placed an order for its biggest cruise ship ever. The new class will be called the MSC World Class (following its newest Seaside and Meraviglia classes), and the new fleet of ships, to be built by STX France in Saint Nazaire, will accommodate a whopping 6 850 guests.

The world’s current largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, accommodates 6 780 at its maximum occupancy. To put this in perspective, a little over 100 years ago, the world’s largest ship, the ill-fated Titanic, could accommodate 2 344 passengers.

The first two World Class ships will be inaugurated in 2022 and 2024 and the ships’ dimensions are staggering. In addition, the new World Class’s ‘Y’ shape will give the ships’ balcony cabins more space, they’ll run on new liquefied natural gas engines and will feature ‘family-friendly villages, a panoramic aft, and a glass pool lounge’.

So, if you thought the Sinfonia was big, imagine life on board one of her World Class sisters.

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