Middle East Cruise News

MSC Cruises lays keel for new Middle East-bound mega-ship MSC World Europa

MSC Cruises has marked the first major milestone in the construction of its new mega-ship MSC World Europa, with the laying of her keel and a traditional coin ceremony at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

The ship will be the cruise line’s first LNG-powered vessel and the largest ship in its rapidly growing fleet. She will also be the one of the largest cruise ships ever to sail in the Arabian Gulf when she docks in Qatar to act as a floating hotel during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

MSC World Europa will be the lead ship of the second-largest class of cruise ships in the world

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At 205,700 tons and carrying 5,200 passengers at double occupancy, MSC World Europa is the first of MSC Cruises’ new class of World-Class cruise ships and a serious competitor to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class liners. A sister ship is on order with the same shipyard.

As is ancient tradition, godmothers representing the ship owner and shipyard (Zoe Africa Vago, daughter of Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, and Aurore Bezard from the HR Department of Chantiers de I’Atlantique) laid two coins under the keel.

MSC Europa will belong to a cruise ship class second only to the Oasis-class in terms of size

The coins are a historical blessing and are intended to bring good fortune to the ship during her build and operational life.

“The 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,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises.

“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,” he added, referring to MSC Cruises previously-stated environmental goal.

The keel was laid during a coin ceremony at the shipyard in France

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In addition to her LNG-powered engines, MSC World Europa will also feature a new 50-kilowatt demonstrator system that incorporates solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology and use LNG to produce electricity and heat onboard, the first time an LNG-powered fuel cell has been used on a cruise ship.

This SOFC solution fuelled by LNG will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) by about 30 percent compared with a conventional LNG engine, with no emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides or fine particles.

It also offers the advantage of being compatible with LNG, as well as several low carbon fuels such as types of methanol, ammonia and hydrogen.

MSC Cruises’ next newbuild, the MSC Virtuosa, which is also due to cruise in the Middle East after delivery, is currently under construction in Saint-Nazaire and readying for delivery next year.

In addition to a sister ship for MSC World Europa, MSC Cruises also has firm orders with Chantiers de l’Atlantique for an additional LNG-powered ship, for its Meraviglia class of ships.

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