MSC Seaside, the world's newest high-tech luxury cruise ship, built with an innovative "beach condo" style structure, departed for its new home on Friday.
The stylish new flagship of the MSC fleet was officially welcomed by the cruise line in a flag ceremony on Wednesday at the Fincanteri shipyard in Monfalcone, marking its handover from the Italian shipmaker, where the company also announced the launch of its Seaside EVO ships, two new vessels to be delivered in 2021 and 2023.
Both ships will be bigger than MSC Seaside, with a length of 339 metres, offering more cabins that can host up to 5646 passengers, and be equipped with the latest advanced "state-of-the-art" environmental technology that meet the "highest" and "strictest" port environment standards.
Among MSC Seaside's unique design features are a wrap-around seafront promenade (dubbed to be the widest on any ship ever built) tracing the perimeter of the 323m-long ship, dotted by a series of bars and restaurants, while its two 40m-long glass-floored catwalks have been designed to simulate the feeling of "walking on water".
Other vertigo-inducing highlights include a glass-bottomed pathway (known as the Bridge of Sighs) at Deck 16 where guests can capture never-before-seen views from 40 metres above the ocean, as well as two panoramic glass lifts offering 360-degree vistas while transporting guests between the ship's main pool areas and other decks.
Designed to "bring guests closer to the sea than ever before", more than 75 per cent of the 5119-capacity passenger ship's cabins offer ocean views, including a selection of adaptable modular cabins that can accommodate up to 10 guests.
The new ship also houses the most interactive water park at sea, built with five attractions including the first-ever "slideboarding" facility, featuring 160m-long duelling waterslides. Other entertainment options on offer include the two longest zip lines at sea, each stretching 105 metres, a full-size bowling alley, an interactive 5D cinema and an F1 racing simulator.
The cruise line has also worked with several digital companies including Samsung and Hewlett Packard to deliver what's said to be cruising industry's "largest all-encompassing digital innovation programme", which will be incorporated across the cruise line's other upcoming nine new ships.
The host of 'smart' features on offer includes a new interactive digital navigator that allows guests to find their way around the ship and access relevant information on different areas of the ship, virtual reality shore excursions, interactive photo walls and wristbands designed with NFC (near field communication) that allow contactless, remote control of on-board facilities and tracking devices to help parents geo-locate their children on the ship.
MSC Seaside is the second new ship to be launched this year by the cruise line, after MSC Meraviglia which was unveiled this summer, and is one of 12 new ships slated for launch between this year and 2026.
It will make its maiden voyage from Port Miami next month, offering Caribbean itineraries visiting Nassau (Bahamas), Ochos Rios (Jamaica), Georgetown (Cayman Islands) and Cozumel (Mexico). Its 2018 sailings will also include visits to St John's (Antigua and Barbuda), Freeport (Bahamas), Costa Maya (Mexico), Charlotte Amalie (US Virgin Islands), Philipsburg (Sint Maarten) and San Juan (Puerto Rico).
The Telegraph, London