MSC Cruises has signed a letter of intent with STX France for the construction of two new cruise ships, with an option for two more.

The new ships are due for delivery in 2017 and 2019 all built in the Saint-Nazaire yards.

They will join MSC Cruises’ fleet, currently comprising 12 ships, but will offer a different kind of experience for holidaymakers.

MSC1419508_Event_Press_conferenceGianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, said: “The new prototype will be the biggest cruise ship ever built by a European ship owner and the most versatile and flexible of the world; not only will it be able to call in most of the ports and destinations on earth, without compromise, but it will have extraordinary features that will make it the perfect choice at sea, in summer and in winter. The two new ships will reaffirm MSC Cruises’ dedication to outstanding and genuine dining options and out-of-this-world entertainment with new panoramic spaces, a bigger theatre and a spectacular amusement park connected to an outdoor aqua park as well as a two-deck ‘inside promenade.”

The two new ships will be 315 meters long and 43 metres wide, with a gross tonnage of about 167,600 tons, boasting 2,250 cabins for guests, nearly 820 crew cabins, and accommodating 5,700 passengers and 1,536 crew members.

MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago added: “MSC Cruises will expand its capacity by 31%. We will enrich our offerings on board and broaden our horizons to ensure we meet the growing global demand.”

Among the new features of the ships there will be specially designed cabins for families and an ‘extended’ MSC Yacht Club. Building is due to start in spring 2015.