Another giant new cruise ship is coming to the Caribbean — and, no, it's not a Royal Caribbean vessel
Get ready for a new Battle of the Megaships in the Caribbean in 2025.
That's the year that MSC Cruises will finally deploy one of its giant new World-class vessels to North America for the first time, according to an announcement Monday by the line.
The Europe-based brand said the not-yet-built second ship in the new World-class series would be dedicated to the U.S. market full-time when it debuts in 2025.
The line also announced a name for the ship that is notably tied to its future home: MSC World America.
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At 215,863 tons, the World-class ships, which are just beginning to roll out, are about 19% bigger than any other MSC Cruises vessels afloat and among the biggest cruise ships built by any line. They rise an astounding 22 decks high — two decks higher than Royal Caribbean‘s Wonder of the Seas, the current size leader in the cruise world.
They are 1,093 feet long, which is longer than any other MSC Cruises ship ever built, and filled with more amenities including six pools, a large water park, and a central interior promenade with entertainment, shops and bars.
The World-class ships are designed to go head-to-head with the biggest ships at Royal Caribbean, which currently dominates the world of megaships with its five massive Oasis-class vessels.
Royal Caribbean also is in the midst of building a series of even bigger ships called the Icon class that will begin debuting in 2024.
Related: First Icon-class ship now open for bookings
Royal Caribbean on Thursday said the first ship in the Icon-class series, Icon of the Seas, would measure 250,800 tons, making it by far the biggest cruise ship in the world. The line's Oasis-class ships range in size from 226,838 tons to 235,600 tons.
In addition to Wonder of the Seas, the Oasis class includes Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.
MSC Cruises just took delivery of the first ship in the World-class series this week from the giant Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in France, which has built many of the world's biggest cruise ships. Named MSC World Europa, it will sail in the Persian Gulf for the coming winter before repositioning to the Mediterranean.
MSC World America will be the next ship in the series when it debuts in 2025 and will be followed by two more World-class ships by 2027.
While the World-class ships, at 215,863 tons, are slightly smaller than Royal Caribbean's biggest ships, they are significantly bigger than any vessel currently operated by any line other than Royal Caribbean; this includes such cruising rivals as Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises.
Like Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class ships, the World-class ships are designed to hold nearly 7,000 passengers with all berths filled — a passenger count of a size that still is relatively rare in the world of cruising.
Related: The ultimate guide to MSC Cruises | The 5 types of MSC Cruises ships, explained | The 5 best destinations you can visit on an MSC Cruises ship
The latest MSC Cruises announcement comes amid a flurry of expansion at MSC Cruises, which has been growing faster than any other major line in recent years. The line has added eight new vessels since 2017 and has another new ships joining its fleet this year.
While it's well known to Europeans, MSC Cruises has far less name recognition among Americans than such big, U.S.-based lines as Royal Caribbean and Carnival. However, the line has been moving aggressively with its ship additions in North America to change that.
MSC Cruises announced earlier this month that it would have a record five ships based in North America by the end of 2023.
The line is also in the midst of building the largest cruise terminal in North America at PortMiami. It'll be able to accommodate three of the line’s largest ships at once.
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