MSC Cruises’ First Newbuilds Completes 20 Years in Service

MSC Lirica

MSC Cruises’ first newbuild is completing 20 years in service in 2023 as the MSC Lirica was delivered to the company on March 24, 2003.

Built in France by the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard, the 65,000-ton ship originally debuted in the Mediterranean.

Before kicking off its inaugural program in the region, the Lirica also became the first ship to be christened by Sophia Loren.

Later the godmother of all of the company’s newbuilds, the Italian actress named the vessel during a special ceremony in the Italian port of Naples.

In addition to the Mediterranean, the MSC Lirica also spent its first years in service sailing in the Caribbean – with U.S.-based cruises departing from Fort Lauderdale – and Northern Europe.

The vessel then debuted in South America in 2009 and in the Middle East – where it became the first MSC ship to sail a complete season in 2010.

In 2016, in another first for MSC Cruises, the MSC Lirica was repositioned to Asia for a series of year-round cruises out of China.

Upon returning to Europe in 2018, the 2,160-guest ship resumed its operations in the Eastern Mediterranean and also sailed additional seasons in the Middle East.

As part of a €275-million refit plan called Renaissance Program, the Lirica was enlarged and modernized in 2015.

After being cut in half at a drydock in Italy, the ship received a new 24-meter-long mid-section that allowed the addition of 194 extra cabins, a new lounge, a kid’s water park and more.

In addition to its new features, the MSC Lirica offers a two-deck theater, a casino, a complete spa, four different restaurants, two swimming pools and more.

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