When MSC Grandiosa visited Rotterdam at the 4th of november in 2019, she was the largest cruiseship yet for MSC Cruises.
In march of 2014, the fast growing MSC Cruises ordered their first two ships in the then called Vista-Project (as every cruiseline does need to have a Vista). With a tonnage measurement of 171.500, these ships were going to be among the largest cruiseships in the world, showing the growthplans the company wanted to achieve. Also an option was taken for two more ships in the same class, next to another order for three revolutionairy Seaside-class cruiseliners, that were ships of around 150.000-tons. It was definitely one of the largest signs of the immense growth of the cruise-industry, especially considered that all these orders were placed for just one company. Both Vista ships and their later counterparts when the option would be finalized were going to be built at the Chantiers de L'atlantique yards at St.-Nazaire in France and the Seasides were going to be built at the Fincantieri Yards in Monfalcone, Italy. Even before the first ship of the Vista-project was named, the optional extra two ships in the class were redesigned and made into a firm order in february of 2016. The redesign meant that the two optional ships were going to be bigger still, topping in at 181.500-tons. MSC needed those big liners was they were very eager to take on less traditional markets for them, in particular the North American market and the Asian and Middle Eastern market. Next to all of those new ships, also they planned the lenghtening of their smaller Lirica-class ships as the company were also going to built another series of smaller, more luxurious cruiseliners to take on the luxury market as well.
Construction and general statistics
As the first ship of the Vista-project was now going to be named MSC Meraviglia, she also gave her name to the class itself. So the duo of larger re-designed ships were now also more-over known as the Meraviglia-plus class of ships. The official order was placed at the 1st of february in 2016 and on the 17th of november in 2017, the first steel for the lead-ship of the Meraviglia-plus class was cut at the then still named STX France Yards. During the ceremony, also her name was revealed. She was going to be the MSC Grandiosa. It was to be a very fitting name, as she was going to be the largest ship yet for MSC Cruises and the sixth largest cruiseship in the world overall.
The ship was built under yardnumber G34 and during the building of the ship, the wharf again became known under their traditional name Chantiers de L'atlantique. Once started up in 1861 by the Pereire brothers to have the ships of their Compagnie Générale Transatlantique built in France by themselves, they would probably have never imagined that behemoths like these were going to be built at their site in the future.
MSC Grandiosa measures some 181.541 tons and has a lenght of 331,43 meters, a width of 43 meters and a height of 65 meters. The ship has 19 decks in total and space aboard for some 4842 passengers in double occupancy measures, going up to a maximum number of 6334. Her crew-count is 1704 and that is around the same number as the number of passengers that can sail on the Lirica-class of ships.
Design and entertainment
MSC Grandiosa is the most environmentalfriendly cruiseship in the MSC fleet to date. She is equipped with a hybrid exhaust gas cleaning system to limit her exhaustgasses and a Selective Catalistic Reductionsystem, reducing her sulphuremissions by 97% and her nitrogenemissions by 80%. Also in port she is able to plug into portside generators so she doesn't have to let her engines running while docked saving energy. In total, the ship uses 28% less fuel per passengers then the smaller Fantasia-class of ships. The waste-water treatment plant aboard is also one of the most effective in the world of cruising, taking care of the fact that only clean water will be spilled. Next to all these innovations, MSC Grandiosa also has a so-named Underwater Radiated Noise System installed, which can reduce the noises underwater so wildlife will not be disturbed too much when the ship passes.
The heart of the ship is not just one central atrium, but the true 101 meter long boulevard Galleria Grandiosa, lined with shops and eateries topped off by green-white striped canopies. In the evenings, this very bright space really comes alive like a central street in an Italian town, with music and entertainment. The roof is made out of LED screens, showing bright blue skies or starry nights to create the best atmosphere for the time of day.
Aboard there are 11 diningvenues and 20 bars to choose from, ranging from a new Tapasbar option within the fleet under the name of HOLA!, a French specialityrestaurant named L'atelier Bistrot, the Japanese Kaito Teppanyaki Sushirestaurant or an American-styled stakehouse to name but a few. Inside the Bistrot, MSC gives the possibility to admire some 26 drawings by Edgar Degas, the Parisian world-famous artist. Selected by MSC, these drawings are truly masterpieces. For a little more informal drink, there is also a cocktailbar, a champagnebar or a chocolaterie aboard.
The theater offers eight different theatrical productions in her first year, so every night there will be another grand show. This ranges from Dancing Queen (the tribute to ABBA), Rock It (a show filled with classic rocktunes), Wonderworld (a blend from classical tunes and modern hiphop) and Love Me, which is inspired by the opera's of Giuseppe Verdi. In total, there are many venues around the ship where on one night around 14 different musical styles can be heared and danced to, so there will always be a place where you'll fit in. Next to music, the ship also offers a 164-slot Imperial Casino, an authentic Formula 1 racing simulator, a full-sized bowling alley and an XD Cinema.
The top attraction on MSC Grandiosa will probably be the two shows performed by the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil in the splendid new Caroussel Lounge. This lounge was especially designed for the Cirque du Soleil shows and features 80 kinetic LED spheres, with moving LED lights that provide depth and a visual background. In the middle of the 360 degrees rotating stage is also a two-meter high lift that provides the perfect spot for solo-performances and also for the juggling-act for the show Cosmos and the contortion-act for the show Exentricks.
The ship also offers the largest shoppingcenter at sea, with twelve different boutiques on a total of 1200 square meters. Famous brands to the likes of Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Pomellato, Yves Saint-Laurent and Armani will be present. Also, MSC itself offers some 200 special branded products, like the ship-specific 'Launched in Hamburg' line. Also the MSC Foundation, the line's own charitybrand, had its own shop here.
One of the most cool places to be photographed aboard is on the specially made crystal staircase. Here, some 61.000 Swarowski crystals had been used to create this magnificent piece of art, adorned also by 15 LED lights in every step to really be able to show it off.
Outside, there is a large aquapark with three waterslides, including a champagnebowl and two racing tubeslides. Above the water, you can be excited by the Himalayan Bridge, which is a ropecourse above the ship and some 80 meters above sealevel.
During a special ceremony at the wharf, MSC Grandiosa was delivered to MSC Cruises at the 31st of october of 2019. She then made her way for Hamburg, Germany where she was christened by of course Sophia Loren at the 9th of november. On the way to Hamburg, she called in for some press-events in the ports of Rotterdam and Le Havre. For the christening-ceremony, the ship was positioned in the middle of the river Elbe. She then returned to her dock to prepare for her Maiden Voyage from Hamburg to Genoa, via Southampton, Barcelona and Marseilles. Sadly for the people of Portugal, the planned stop at Lisbon had to be cancelled due to a severe storm. Her first season brought her to the Mediterranean, before she will reposition to Santos, Brazil from the fall in 2020 onwards. There, she will become the largest cruiseship ever homeported in South America.
On the 30th of december 2019, the ship had a minor allision with the Vittoro Veneto pier at Palermo, but she was able to sail for her next port of call Valletta as sceduled later that day.