Godmother Sophia Loren christens her 15th ship MSC Grandiosa in Hamburg. Picture: MSC Cruises.

The 93-metre-long Mediterranean Promenade onboard the MSC Grandiosa is filled with thousands of elegantly clad guests this evening.

Some men are dressed in smart blazers and others in suits, while the women adorn gorgeous gowns with matching accessories. We are docked at the Hamburg port in Germany for the MSC Grandiosa christening celebration. 

The festivities take place in three locations: the ship’s main theatre on deck 6, the Mediterranean Promenade, and Landungsbrücken where a MSC Village on the banks of the Elbe River stands to broadcast the event for over 5000 Hamburg locals. 

Amid the festivities, people try to capture selfies, while others giggle with excitement.

The clinking of glasses can be heard from all corners of deck 6. 

MSC Grandiosa is the first of three Meraviglia-Plus ships to join MSC Cruises’ fleet. MSC Virtuosa will be launched next year while the LNG-powered World Class MSC Europa will make its first appearance in 2022.

Grandiosa is MSC Cruises’ fifth new ship to enter into service in the past 30 months. The cruise company intends on building a total of 13 highly-innovative and environmentally-sound cruise ships between 2017 and 2027, plus an additional four to operate under a yet-to-be-named luxury cruise brand.

To mark the grand christening, artist Michael Batz created a light experience with his new installation called Blue Nights for MSC. The lights are centred around the Elbphilharmonie at 20 locations in Hamburg harbour.

Among the night's hosts include TV personality Michelle Hunziker, German couple Annemarie and Wayne Carpendale and TV host and actor Jochen Schropp.

But, the star everyone wants to catch a glimpse of is screen legend and godmother of the ship, Sophia Loren.

When she does arrive, everyone cannot stop staring at her. It takes several minutes before the applause comes to a stop.

Captain of the MSC Grandiosa Marco Massa stands next to Loren who looks graceful in her silver, shimmering creation. 

Her speech starts, and all you can hear is the sound of clicking cameras from the photographers on the top deck of the promenade.

In her speech, she says: "Here we are for the launching of MSC Grandiosa, which is the 15th MSC cruise ship that I am the Godmother. It may be the 15th, but the emotion is always the same.

“Sailing the seas is maybe the oldest way to travel, and it has never lost its charm. It’s like becoming a kid again to the discovery of the world. Let’s welcome with big emotion the other jewel of MSC, wishing prosperity of every nation. May they live moments of serenity and joy aboard this wonderful ship,” she adds, before saying: “Viva, MSC Grandiosa!”

 

After a 5-second countdown, she cuts the ribbon to officially christen the ship. Moments later, a firework display fills the Hamburg sky. 

Earlier this week, during the 5-day celebration from November 6 to 10, the cruise company launched its MSC Foundation.

The non-profit organisation will advance and extend the cruise company's humanitarian, social programmes and sustainability
contributions.

You can see the cruise company's sustainability commitment through its vessel.

MSC Grandiosa is MSC Cruises’ most environmentally-advanced ship at sea and equipped with advanced cutting-edge technologies geared to ensure ever cleaner air emissions and improved overall environmental performance, both while at sea and ashore.

Up to 3, 000, 000 litres of water is made onboard each day and 100 percent of wash water purified before discharge.

Two systems onboard reduce NOx and SOx emissions.

The 19 deck ship will have 1704 crew members and 6334 guests.

The new ship will consist of 5 speciality restaurants, and Grandiosa will serve over 15, 000 meals per day. 

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