MSC Cruises: Full Steam Ahead with Contract for a Fourth MSC Musica Class Ship: MSC Magnifica

MSC Cruises continues its era of expansion with the announcement that the Company is exercising its option to build a fourth Musica class Panamax ship, MSC Magnifica, thereby increasing the Company’s fleet to 12 ships within the next three years. Since 2003 MSC Cruises is taking delivery of one vessel a year. This makes MSC Cruises today the Company with the newest fleet and the highest balcony ratio in the world.

The announcement was made today by MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago and by Aker Yards France CEO Mr Jacques Hardelay. “Since launching its massive expansion program in 2003, MSC Cruises has become the leading European cruise company and the fastest-growing cruise line in the world. This announcement demonstrates the Company commitment to be a dominant force in the international cruise market. The best of Italian design, innovative technology and engineering, the spacious public areas and the large number of staterooms with balconies make the MSC Musica class ships ideally suited for the requirements of the worldwide cruise market while reconfirming the uniqueness of the MSC Cruises’ product” says Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises. Also adding: “In only three years MSC Cruises has successfully designed three prototype vessels together with Aker Yards. This is quite unique in the industry, proving the professionalism of our young MSC Cruises team”.

“MSC Magnifica signifies another important step toward MSC Cruises’ leadership in the cruise industry with a product and service tailored for our guests’ desires” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA).

A fourth MSC Musica class ship

The 89,600-ton vessel will join sister ships MSC Musica, MSC Orchestra (which debuts in May 2007) and MSC Poesia (scheduled to arrive in 2008). The Company will also take delivery of the largest two post-Panamax new vessels ever built by a European ship owner, MSC Fantasia and MSC Serenata to be delivered in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Like its sister ships, the new build will feature cutting-edge technology and innovative design. The ship will carry 2,500 passengers and have more than 242,000 square feet of public area; 85 percent of the staterooms will be outside accommodations and 65 percent of the total number of staterooms will have balconies.

MSC Cruises has a long-standing relationship with Aker Yards: the shipyard has produced five vessels in the line’s current fleet – MSC Lirica, MSC Armonia, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Opera and MSC Musica – and MSC Cruises is in the process of taking delivery of four other ships from Aker Yards – MSC Orchestra, MSC Poesia, MSC Fantasia and MSC Serenata.