Despite cruise industry crisis, MSC lays keel for one of world’s largest ships

The ocean cruise industry may be in a global lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t stop MSC laying the keel June 29 for the MSC World Europa, which will be one of the world’s largest ships at sea.

The 200,000-ton ship, to be constructed at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, at an estimated cost of some $1.2 billion, will have 2,632 passenger cabins and will carry 6,761 passengers and 2,139 crew. 

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Technological leader 

It will also be the first liquified natural gas ship in the fleet of the world’s fourth largest cruise line and it is set to be one of the most technologically- and environmentally-advanced in its class, according to a press release.

Representatives from MSC and the shipbuilder placed two coins under the keel, a historical blessing of good fortune for the project and the ship’s life at sea. 

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises, said: “MSC World Europa is further proof of our commitment to environmental stewardship as she is set to reduce carbon emissions even further than many other existing cruise ships powered by LNG, which is currently the most environmentally-friendly fuel for commercial maritime operations. With this vessel, we also reconfirm our belief in investing in advanced environmental technology to meet our long-term goal of zero emissions from operations.”

Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, added: “We are proud to start the building of a ship which will set the standards for the cruise of the future. This is a major milestone in the history of our 20-year cooperation with MSC Cruises, which has already resulted in some of the most innovative cruise ships ever built.” 

MSC World Europa will feature a new 50-kilowatt demonstrator system that incorporates solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology and uses LNG to produce electricity and heat on board, the first time an LNG-powered fuel cell has been used on a cruise ship. The technology will decrease sulphur emissions and particulate matter by 99%, NOx emissions by 85%, and CO2 emissions by 20%. 

It will also feature a new generation wastewater treatment system and other cutting-edge environmental technologies. 

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Unique architecture and enhanced comfort

With its unique Y-shaped architecture, the MSC World Europa has a large outside promenade opening on an aft terrace where passengers can enjoy direct views of the ocean. The ship will have 15,000 square meters of outside sun decks and 39,000 square meters of public space.  The ship builder notes that passengers will also enjoy an enhanced comfort thanks to the stem designed specially to increase both hydro and aero dynamism. 

The ship, the first in MSC’s new World Class line, is scheduled to enter service in 2022 and later that year will host soccer fans as a floating hotel during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. 

MSC has contracted the Chantier de l’Atlantique shipyard to build four World Class ships by 2027.

One of the world’s largest ships – MSC World Europa Fact File 

  • Length overall:  333 m
  • Max. breadth: 47 m
  • Draught: 9.15m
  • Gross Tonnage: 205,700
  • Maximum Speed: 21.8 kts
  • Number of passenger cabins:  2,634 cabins / 6,762 passengers
  • Crew: 2,138

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