This morning, MSC Cruises officially took delivery of its new ship MSC Magnifica from the STX Europe shipyard at Saint-Nazaire (France).
In the traditional “flag ceremony”, the shipyard’s pennant and the French flag were first lowered, accompanied by the French national anthem, before Jacques Hardelay, General Manager of STX Europe, formally handed the ship over to MSC Crociere shipowner Gianluigi Aponte. Mr Aponte then gave command of the ship to Captain Giuliano Bossi, and the flags of Italy and MSC Cruises were raised to the sound of the Italian national anthem.
The honour of cutting the ribbon fell to MSC vice-president Mrs Alexa Aponte Vago, daughter of Mr Aponte and wife of MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago, who was also in attendance, as was the Manager of MSC Croisière France & BeluxErminio Eschena. After the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne, three blasts from the ship’s siren signalled the end of the ceremony.
MSC Magnifica is the eleventh ship in the fleet. 293.8m long, 59.4m tall, 32m wide, and capable of carrying over 3000 guests, her elegant design is once again the work of award-winning naval architects De Jorio Design International. With respect to her sister vessels in the ‘Musica’ class, her 22,000 square metresof public areas contain numerous innovations, from the Magrodome sliding roof over one of the pools to the 10-pin bowling, vintage billiard room and interactive 4D cinema.
After an inaugural visit to Southampton dedicated to the UK market next weekend, MSC Magnifica will begin her pre-christening cruise from Saint-Nazaire on Monday 1st March, calling at Cherbourg (Tue 2nd), Dover (Wed 3rd) and Amsterdam (Thu 4th) before reaching the port of Hamburg (Fri 5th) for the official christening ceremony on Saturday 6th March.
This grand event will be attended by an array of show business stars, including UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and international singing sensation Nana Mouskouri, world-famous Italian singer-songwriter Eros Ramazzotti and platinum-selling German artist Sasha.
Of course, the heart of the event will be the cutting of the ribbon and the naming of the ship by screen legend Sophia Loren, to a crescendo of champagne and fireworks.
The christening ceremony can be enjoyed not only by those in Hamburg – onboard and ashore on two giant floating screens in the beautiful Landungsbrucken area of the harbour - but also by online spectators around the world on MSC TV (www.mscwebtv.com).
About MSC Cruises:
MSC Cruises is the world's leading cruise company in the Mediterranean, South African and Brazilian markets and operates across the globe. It's modern fleet comprises eleven ships: MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera, MSC Lirica and MSC Melody. MSC Magnifica, launched in March 2010. The fleet will increase in size with the addition of the MSC Divina which will be christened on May 26th in Marseille in 2012, France. The fleet cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean & the Antilles, South America, the Indian Ocean, South and West Africa, Red Sea. MSC Cruises is the only company in the world to receive the "6 Golden Pearls" award from the Bureau Veritas in recognition of its high level of quality management and environmental responsibility. MSC has also achieved ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certification for the quality and food safety of all aspects of its catering, both onshore and onboard. MSC Cruises cares about the welfare of children, and as a responsible market leader believes in making a positive impact in the regions where it operates. To this end, the company recently forged a partnership with UNICEF to fund a community project aimed at providing disadvantaged children in Brazil with a quality education.