The latest in the MSC Cruises fleet, MSC Meraviglia was christened in a glittering ceremony by international screen legend and godmother of all of MSC Cruises’ ships, Sophia Loren. At 171,598 GRT and with guest capacity of 5,714, MSC Meraviglia is the biggest ship to be built by a European ship owner, MSC Cruises and also the biggest ship to come into service in 2017.
MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa,hosted the glamorous, high-profile event in Le Havre, with entertainment from top international performers and an exclusive gala dinner in the company of special guests, authorities, key partners from the travel industry, global media and top management from MSC Cruises and its parent company MSC Group. Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group’s founder and executive chairman as well as the ship owner, attended together with the Aponte and Aponte-Vago families.
“We have an ambitious vision for the future and MSC Meraviglia marks the start of a new era for our Company,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman. “For this reason, the evening is an extremely proud moment for all of us at MSC Cruises as we see the first of our next-generation ships being named.”
“The new ships that will come into service over the coming ten years are purpose-built connected ships, featuring innovation in both product and design, as well as the very latest-cutting edge technology to create unforgettable holiday experiences at sea for guests of all ages. MSC Meraviglia is the first to make this vision come to life, as it sets a new standard for cruise ships as a destination in itself.”
MSC Meraviglia is the Company’s new flagship and the 13th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet as well as the first of 11 new MSC Cruises ships due to come into service over the next 10 years under an industry-unprecedented €9 billion investment plan.
Both the ship herself and the nights event have been inspired by the wonders of the world, as Meraviglia literally means wonder. The christening ceremony itself was be hosted by one of Europe’s most loved comedians, Gad Elmaleh. The audience also saw entertainment by internationally renowned artist Patrick Bruel who performed a selection of his most loved songs. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Kids United who performed to represent a diverse world, promoting peace and tolerance
The crowning moment of the evening was the parade of the ship’s officers, when Sophia Loren cut the ribbon and named MSC Meraviglia to a time-honoured crescendo of champagne and fireworks. Mrs. Loren has held a close relationship with MSC Cruises for over a decade, when she first became godmother of MSC Lirica, in 2003. As the MSC Cruises fleet continued to grow, she blessed each and every new ship, reflecting MSC Cruises' belief not only in loyalty, but also in Loren's unique beauty, talent and elegant style - the same elements that distinguish every aspect on board an MSC Cruises ship.
The event finished with a delicious Michelin-star VIP gala dinner, a sophisticated blend of high quality ingredients and culinary art prepared by two-star Michelin chef, Hélène Daroze. The menu took inspiration from Chef Daroze’s passion for combining the flavours of France with those of the UK to create a simple yet elegant gourmet experience for the guests. MSC Cruises and Chef Daroze hope to extend the collaboration beyond this evening and work is underway to establish a partnership.
MSC Meraviglia is the largest cruise ship to launch in 2017 and is able to call in most of the world’s international cruise ports, this new cruise ship is set to become one of the hottest destinations at sea. Some of the unique features that set MSC Cruises’ newest flagship apart include:
- World-class entertainment from Cirque du Soleil with two exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows created just for MSC Meraviglia with two performances six nights a week, guests can enjoy a unique show & dinner or cocktail & show experience
- Widest range of dining options and bars on any MSC Cruises ship to-date with 12 dining venues and 20 bars
- As a family-owned company, kids’ activities and services are at the very core of the guest offering and the dedicated family deck area includes a brand new entertainment offering and cutting-edge facilities for the whole family.
- MSC for Me, the new digital experience designed for guests to get the most out of their holiday, connecting them to the experiences that matter to them
- The MSC Yacht Club with new features and luxurious accommodations spanning three decks, private facilities and butler service round-the-clock
- The longest LED Sky Screen at Sea at 80 metres long encompassing a stunning 96 metre long Mediterranean-style promenade, designed to become the social hub of the ship
- Comfortable and innovative accommodations to meet every need demonstrating the way that MSC Cruises puts the guest at the heart of its designs and ship building and with 10 different types of cabin to choose from, there really is something for everyone.
MSC Meraviglia will commence her maiden voyage from Le Havre to Genoa on June 4 and then her summer itinerary from Genoa from June 11. MSC Meraviglia will offer six embarkation ports in the Western Mediterranean including the popular ports of Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona as well as other much sought after Mediterranean destinations including Naples, Messina in Sicily and Valetta in Malta. For more information, visit www.msccruises.co.za