At the steel-cutting ceremony in STX France shipyard, MSC Cruises announced yesterday the name of their first mega-ship of the "Vista project" as MSC Meraviglia.

Sheduled for delivery May 2017, the 4,500-passenger ship will be 2nd only to Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class in terms of capacity and will be the biggest cruise ship ever built by a European-based line.

The name Meraviglia means "wonder" in Italian. The new ship will spend her first summer in the western Mediterranean with 3 homeports: Barcelona, Genoa and Marseille.

Features planned for MSC Meraviglia include interlinked "cluster cabins" for families, which allow up to 3 cabins to be opened up. "Near Field Communication" technology will enable guests to access their staterooms, make onboard payments or geo-locate kids, simply by using their bracelet, cruise card or smartphone.

Meraviglia will boast a large water park outdoors, connected to an indoor 2-deck amusement park; 2-deck entertainment space and aft lounge; and a 2-deck interior promenade styled like a village in the Mediterranean. This area, housing specialty restaurants, bars and shops, will be covered by a 5,167- square-foot LED dome ceiling ("digital sky") displaying visual shows.

MSC Meraviglia will also feature an MSC Yacht Club - "ship within a ship" with its own lounge, solarium, restaurants and duplex suites. She is expected to be one of the safest and greenest ships in cruise industry, as well as one of the most technologically advanced.

Bookings open in June 2016. An identical sister ship to Meraviglia is scheduled for delivery by 2019, also on order from STX France. MSC Cruises has also an option for doubling its capacity with two further Vista class ships to be delivered by 2022 - part of the company's $5.4 billion investment plan

In other news, MSC recently revealed that the 1st of its next generation “Seaside” class ships will be named MSC Seaside, set to debut November 2017. The ship will sail from Miami to the Caribbean year-round. The company also announced that its Miami-based operations and growing ambitions in the North American market will benefit from a newly expanded and renovated berth and terminal at PortMiami.