I don’t want to say I told you so, but I think you will find I did. Either that or STX is being a bit adventurous. Photos have arrived online suggesting that MSC has purchased the former Libyan cruise ship as MSC PREZIOSA. The ship is the same class as the soon to be launched MSC Divina and sister ships MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida.
STX will be happy to have a home for the ship upon completion, and the ship is expected to enter service early next year. Previously known as the Phoenicia and owned by the Libyan National Shipping Company following the collapse of Gadaffi the shipping line defaulted on its payment schedule, and STX has been looking for a buyer since. When ordered GNMTC were quoted as saying ‘We haven’t got any plans for the time being. We have just ordered it.’
Back in September I commented how the only really suitable buyer would be MSC Cruises, as the ship would be united with its sister ships. We expected the ship to be called MSC Fenicia in our suggestions for 2012, but we are wrong sometimes!
With the funnel being prepared for the MSC logo and the MSC Preziosa name printed on the hull it does indeed look like this vessel will be joining the growing MSC fleet, we expect an announcement shortly from STX and MSC advising us of this purchase.
You can see the full gallery here: http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/search.php?query=MSC+Preziosa&x=29&y=5