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New 'ultra-luxury' cruise ships to set sail - with your own butler

Swiss-based cruise line MSC is splashing the cash on a host of new ships, including four new 'ultra-luxury' liners...

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MSC Meraviglia, MSC Yacht Club Royal Suite

MSC Meraviglia, MSC Yacht Club Royal Suite

Butler at your service? MSC ultra-luxury cruises

Butler at your service? MSC ultra-luxury cruises

MSC Meraviglia, MSC Yacht Club - Top Sail Lounge

MSC Meraviglia, MSC Yacht Club - Top Sail Lounge

MSC Meraviglia, Yacht Club

MSC Meraviglia, Yacht Club

MSC Meraviglia, Broadway Theatre

MSC Meraviglia, Broadway Theatre

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MSC Meraviglia, MSC Yacht Club Royal Suite

Cruise line MSC is entering the 'ultra-luxury' market with a €2 billion order for four state-of-the-art boutique cruise ships.

The ships will feature 500 cabins apiece, accommodate 1,000 passengers (small, compared to others in its fleet), and begin hitting the seas in the spring of 2023.

And the frills? They include your own personal butler service.

MSC and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri announced the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the four ships last week.

'Ultra-luxury' is a term used to describe smaller, high-end cruise ships offering premium services (and prices), such as Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn and Silversea - which was recently acquired by Royal Caribbean.

Ships typically feature all-ocean-view suites, top-end spas and gourmet restaurants. MSC, somewhat vaguely, is also promising "the latest environmental technology" and "cutting-edge maritime solutions at sea".

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Butler at your service? MSC ultra-luxury cruises

Butler at your service? MSC ultra-luxury cruises

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MSC Meraviglia, MSC Yacht Club Royal Suite

MSC Meraviglia, MSC Yacht Club Royal Suite

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MSC Meraviglia, MSC Yacht Club - Top Sail Lounge

MSC Meraviglia, MSC Yacht Club - Top Sail Lounge

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MSC Meraviglia, Yacht Club

MSC Meraviglia, Yacht Club

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MSC Meraviglia, Broadway Theatre

MSC Meraviglia, Broadway Theatre

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, described the venture as "the natural evolution" of its ship-within-a-ship MSC Yacht Club concept.

"These ships will be able to offer unique itineraries, thanks to their size, and the guest services will be taken to another level, including our personalised MSC Yacht Club butler service, available 24/7,” he says.

Further details or artists' impressions are not yet available.

Founded in Italy, MSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company - one of its ships, the 315m MSC Splendida, was the largest ever to call at Dublin Port when it docked this summer.

Join Pól Ó Conghaile for a look inside Silverseas Silver Cloud, one of the original 'ultra-luxury' cruise ships.

The company is on something of a growth spurt, with 17 new ships worth €13.6 billion commissioned for delivery by 2027. MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview have already come into service.

In other cruise news, river cruise specialist Uniworld has announced the introduction of four new ships to its fleet over the next three years, on the Nile in Egypt, the Douro in Portugal, and the Mekong in Vietnam.

The ships will replace existing vessels in each destination.

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Online Editors