Posted by: cruise2 | 4 November, 2010

Traditional Ceremony marks construction milestone for newly renamed MSC DIVINA


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Marseille will host the christening of the new ship in May 2012

In a time-honoured maritime tradition, a ceremony was held this morning at the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, during which two commemorative coins were welded to the ship’s keel to mark a significant construction milestone.

Opening the ceremony was MSC Cruises CEO, Pierfrancesco Vago, who stated: "To-day I am happy to celebrate the first major step in the construction of our new ship, the third in the Fantasia class. This new vessel will reflect the qualities of her sister ships, MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, while enhancing them in ways that will delight even our most demanding guests. For example, she will have 100 additional cabins and innovative new features such as the gorgeous Infinity Pool in the aft. To-day is also the ideal moment to announce that the twelfth ship in our fleet will be christened in May 2012 in Marseille, one of the most visited and best loved of MSC Cruises’ destinations."

STX Europe was represented by Jacques Hardelay, General Manager of STX France who added: "In my opinion, this ceremony gives us another opportunity to seal our excellent relationship with MSC, our loyal customer. We are grateful for their confidence, which we see as a recognition of our expertise."

Giovanna Maresca, an MSC Cruises Technical Department veteran, served as MSC godmother at the ceremony. She was joined by Soléne Arcangeli from STX France, who is responsible for the keel of the new ship.

Beside the traditional STX coin, the MSC coin bears the company logo on one side and the coat of arms of the city of Marseille on the other.

The official christening of the ship will in fact be celebrated in Marseille, France, in May 2012, so the city was well represented at the ceremony.

It has become a tradition for MSC Cruises to christen each of its new cruise ships in an important port of call, selecting a different port each time. Marseille, France’s largest port and the third largest in Europe, was an obvious choice to celebrate the new ship’s arrival. France has always been a key market for MSC Cruises, which over the years has become one of the leading companies in the French tourism and leisure industry, offering more ports of call in France than any other cruise company.

During the ceremony, the ship – previously MSC Fantastica – was renamed MSC Divina, in honour of the fleet’s godmother Sophia Loren, a family friend of MSC president Gianluigi Aponte. "One evening I was chatting to Gianluigi about wishes and desires," recounts Ms Loren, "and I mentioned my own dream of having a ship named after me. He immediately suggested ‘Divina’ in place of ‘Fantastica’, adding that a fantastic experience is fleeting, whereas a divine experience gives you memories that will last forever." And thus the new name was born.


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