From their humble beginnings as a cargo line, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) expanded into the cruise holiday industry in 1988. In the last 10 years, MSC’s successful formula placed them on the map and they have been dubbed as the “fastest growing cruise line” by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
The Italian company is once again making waves in the industry to prove that statement is still applicable. An announcement was recently made regarding their “Renaissance Programme”. MSC have pledged to renew and enhance four members of their twelve ship fleet and bring these ships up to the same standards as their newer ships.
MSC Cruises’ CEO, Gianni Onorato, commented: “When our four Lirica class ships return to the seas after a total of 38 weeks in dry dock, they will be entirely new ships with additional amenities and comfort for our travellers, allowing them to reach sophisticated and refined destinations around the world”.
All of the ships involved in this £200 million Renaissance Programme project were built between 2003 and 2005 and are presently 820 feet in length and weigh 60,000 tons.
The first ship to undergo its renewal and renovation is the MSC Armonia. On 31 August she made a voyage to Palmero, in Sicily where she will remain. Being docked at the Fincantieri shipyard for roughly 11 weeks, she is awaiting her retrofit by the world class shipbuilders. After the extensive work the Armonia will back in operation on November 17th for a Mediterranean cruise from Genoa to the Canary Islands.
Some of the scheduled improvements that are being added to the Armonia include increasing her length. Approximately 100 feet will be added and her weight will increase to 65,000 tons.
The extra space will be put to good use and the installation of 200 extra cabins will allow Armonia to carry 2,680 passengers in total. Renovations and refitting other areas of the ship will take place too including the dining and activity areas plus the existing staterooms.
New areas will include designated spaces for the younger ones in the family, ranging from a ‘Baby Club’ which is going to be partnered with Chicco and a Teens Club with a wide variety of interesting activities geared to age.
Those who are want a quick meal or a snack will have more options available.The buffet will be open for 20 hours a day. There will also be a new lounge area to relax in as well as a new restaurant that will feature international cuisine.
For the first time ever on the ship, the MSC Armonia will have a library in which passengers can rent books to read on their journey or play a board game. The Aurea Spa located onboard will also have many new treatments in store for passengers that are sure to relieve stress.
But the biggest addition will be a brand new spray park, with water nozzles and cannons spraying in all directions. This will be a fun addition to the poolside area and will keep passengers cool in an instant even during the hottest of days.
The Renaissance programmes tentative timetable for dry dock is as follows:
MSC Armonia: 31 August to 17 November 2014
MSC Sinfonia: 12 January to 16 March 2015
MSC Opera: 2 May to 4 July 2015
MSC Lirica: 31 August to 9 November 2015
MSC promises that these ships will meet all safety standards and rival any of the newer ships coming out of the shipyards.
Images courtesy of MSC Cruises
Written by Veronica Shine