MSC Cruises to build record-breaking cruise ships

European cruise line MSC Cruises announced this week that it is extending its growth spurt. The operator has ordered four new ships that would break a long-held record in the industry: the number of passengers on board.

The privately held company is calling the new type of ship the “World Class,” and said the vessels will include 2,760 staterooms and a maximum occupancy of 6,850 passengers with every available bed filled. That number edges out Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis-class ships, which the company says can hold 6,780 passengers at maximum capacity.

MSC’s World Class ships, which are being built by STX France, are due to be delivered in 2022 and 2024. The company has options to purchase another two for arrival in 2025 and 2026.

Royal Caribbean International has been able to claim the world’s largest cruise ship title since Oasis of the Seas was delivered in 2009. Cruise lines typically consider a ship 100 percent full if two people occupy each stateroom, and that number is the capacity they use as a standard. For Oasis of the Seas, the double occupancy number was 5,400; Royal Caribbean says on a fact sheet that it can hold a maximum of 6,780.

The new MSC ships may in fact edge out the double occupancy numbers of the Oasis-class ships; two people each in 2,760 staterooms would amount to 5,520 passengers, though the company said that metric is not available yet. But the maximum occupancy of the World Class ships would be 6,850 with every available bed filled.

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