PORT ST. MAARTEN – MSC Cruises next generation cruise ship Seaside was welcomed by Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Cornelius de Weever and by the Supervisory Board and Management of Port St. Maarten on Wednesday during the inaugural and plaque exchange ceremony onboard the vessel.
Captain of MSC Seaside Marco Massa told invited guests that today was a very important day for him as he was very happy to be back in St. Maarten. He had heard about Irma hitting the island and saw the pictures of devastation, but he was full of praise for the destination for what has been achieved.
Captain Massa said he was amazed with the recovery of the destination within a short period of time, adding that St. Maarten was an amazing island with an amazing population. He thanked everybody for joining him onboard during the inaugural call and concluded with “Viva St. Maarten.”
Minister Cornelius de Weever during his welcome address pointed out that MSC Cruises was a loyal partner, and it was a pleasure on behalf of the people and Government of St. Maarten to welcome one of the cruise lines’ next generation ships.
The Minister added that the destination would be going through many changes and planning phases in the coming months, but the destination was committed to providing that essential cruise experience the island and its people have been providing to the cruise sector for years.
Minister De Weever concluded that MSC Cruises return to the destination once again demonstrated confidence in the island and recovery track embarked upon to make the island better than ever.
Cruise passengers from three other ships in port were greeted with steel pan music and stilt walkers as they disembarked from their vessels. The other ships in port were Freedom of the Seas, Celebrity Eclipse, and Costa Neoclassica.
The St. Maarten delegation also included representatives from the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, and local shipping/stevedoring line representatives.
MSC Seaside is a completely new prototype pushing the boundaries of innovative ship building and design. The vessel is leading the way for a new generation of cruise ships with their revolutionary architecture and cutting-edge technology followed by the 1st and 2nd generation ships. The vessel is sailing in the Caribbean year-round from Port Miami.
MSC Seaside has a gross tonnage of 153,516 tons; has a passenger capacity of 5,119 and 1,413 crew; the ship was launched in November 2017 and christened in December 2017. MSC Seaview, Seaside’s sister ship will come into service in June 2018 starting her summer season in the Mediterranean.
MSC Cruises is a Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line. The cruise line today has a fleet of 14 ships since its inception in 2003. In 2014 MSC launched an investment plan to support the second phase of growth and in April 2016, the cruise line ordered additional vessels for a total investment of over 10 billion Euros for up to 11-new next-generation ships that started to come into service starting in 2017 to 2026.
MSC Cruises is the brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa, sailing year-round in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Seasonal itineraries cover northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, Cuba and the French Antilles, South America, southern Africa, China and Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.
CUTLINE: A group photo of all stakeholders lead by Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Cornelius de Weever during the inaugural call of MSC Seaside on Wednesday.