Work begins on new MSC cruise ship

Mar 18, 2003
Author: P&S

Earlier in March workers at the St Nazaire Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard began work on Mediterranean Shipping Cruises’ second luxury 58,600-gt cruise ship MSC Opera, a sister ship to the MSC Lirica which is due to enter service next month (April 2003), shortly after delivery to its owners MSC on Thursday (20 March).

The 2,200-passenger Opera will have some modifications to the design of Lirica, mainly via an increase in the number of cabins as well as all cabins on decks 9 and 10 having private balconies.

MSC has announced that the actress Sophia Loren will be godmother and will christen MSC Lirica prior to the ship entering service with cruises in the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, MSC Lirica’s departure from the shipyard on April 2 will be met with mixed feelings by workers, who face an uncertain future with no other cruise ship orders at this time.

Few cruise operators have shown any intention of placing new orders in an uncertain and somewhat overtraded market. A prolonged war in Iraq seems certain to have an added negative effect of such shipbuilding.

At the recent Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention held in Miami, a number of operators reflected this uncertainty and reminded shipyards of the cyclical nature of the shipping market generally. Worldwide there are only a few ships remaining on order beyond 2004 and the strong showing of the Euro is also not good news for European builders.

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