Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has advised long-standing client, MSC Cruises, on the €1.5 bill ECA-backed financing for two new ‘Seaside’ EVO class cruise ships.
The Seaside EVO is a larger evolution of MSC Cruises’ existing ‘Seaside’ class ships.
The financing was provided by a syndicate of lenders, comprising BNP Paribas, Unicredit and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, with SACE SIMEST, the Italian ECA, fully backing the credit line and stabilising the interest rate.
The first ship is expected to be delivered in May, 2021 and the second in February, 2023. With the addition of these new ships, MSC Cruises now plans to build up to 10 new ships by 2026.
The 339 m long vessels, which are being built by Fincantieri, will be fitted with 2,280 cabins , as well as a larger deck and yacht club than their predecessors.
As with the existing ‘Seaside’ class vessels, the new ships will be equipped with what is claimed to be the very best environmental technology, ranging from recycling and waste management systems to meet the highest industry standards, to the latest generation of energy-saving devices among others.
The WFW London Maritime team advising MSC Cruises was led by Partner and Global Maritime Group Head Lindsey Keeble, supported by Senior Associate Emily Widdrington and Associate Tanpreet Rooprai. Partner Robert Platt advised MSC Cruises on the shipbuilding contracts.
WFW’s team also advised MSC Cruises on the financing of the original two ‘Seaside’ class ships in 2015 and their delivery in November, 2017 and June, 2018, respectively.
Keeble commented: “I’m delighted to have advised MSC Cruises once again on a transaction that represents a major step forward in the unprecedented and ongoing growth of their fleet, especially given the high environmental standards to which the new vessels comply. This deal also demonstrates the continued strength of the cruise industry.”