A ceremony has taken place at Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, as MSC Cruises officially took delivery of its new flagship MSC Seaside.

The delivery ceremony took place at the presence of Sergio Mattarella, president of the Italian Republic, Graziano Delrio, Italy minister of infrastructure and transport, and other authorities and dignitaries.

At the occasion of the delivery ceremony of MSC Seaside, the company’ second newly-built to come into service in 2017, MSC Cruises and Fincantieri also signed firm orders for the construction of two Seaside EVO ships, a further evolution of the Seaside Class prototype, for a total investment of €1.8 billion.

MSC Cruises executive chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, said: “MSC Seaside coming into service marks another key milestone in the history and future of our company, but she also embodies a pivotal moment for the industry.

“In fact, she is the first ship of the fifth new prototype that we bring into service and introduces a wholly-innovative product that sets a new standard for the industry to follow.

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“The Seaside Class of ships is designed to bring guests closer to the sea and to operate in sunny waters, while continuing to push the boundaries of maritime and guest-centric technology.”

Following the new agreement between MSC Cruises and Fincantieri, the initial slot reservation agreement to build a third Seaside Class ship to be delivered in 2021 has been replaced to instead build the first of two Seaside EVO ships.

The second ship is set to come into service in 2023.

Giuseppe Bono, chief executive, Fincantieri, stated: “We are proud to have accomplished such an important project: a ship, for a new customer, the largest one ever built in Italy.

“This demonstrates not only our ability to satisfy the needs of the shipowners, but also the extraordinary operational level which Fincantieri has achieved.”

In addition to offering even more space, Seaside EVO ships will have greater dimensions, more cabins, an even larger Yacht Club – with an additional deck and larger cabins – and will be hosting up to 5,646 passengers.