MSC Cruises’ New MSC Divina Christened by Sophia Loren in Marseille
By James Shillinglaw
May 28, 2012 5:52 PM
Legendary Italian actress Sophia Loren christened MSC Cruises’ new 3,502-passenger MSC Divina in a ceremony in Marseille, France, on May 26. The christening ceremony also featured narration by French actor Gerard Depardieu; music by Italian singer, pianist and composer Paolo Conte and French folk group La Poulido de Gèmo; and aerial stunt aerobatics by Captens Aerobatic Display Team and the Brietling Jet Team. For a video of the christening ceremony, click on MSC Divina Christening.
“Since 2003 we have built our ships on French soil, partnering with the French shipyard and heavily contributing to employment and the economy,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises. “Tonight in Marseille we celebrate this long-established relationship, paying homage to the country’s oldest and biggest port at the christening ceremony of our latest flagship, MSC Divina.”
Also in attendance at the christening were classical performer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Maxim Vengerov, a supporter of the joint MSC Cruises and UNICEF Get on Board for Children initiative, which funds a project for education equality for disadvantaged children in Brazil that has raised more than $1.3 million to date. Vengerov took to the stage with local children and released hundreds of UNICEF balloons and delighted guests with a violin solo.
The highlight of the evening was the floodlit ceremony and parade of the ship’s officers, when Sophia Loren, godmother of the MSC Cruises’ fleet, cut the ribbon and named MSC Divina. As the 12th ship in the MSC Cruises fleet, Divina joins MSC Magnifica, MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia, MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera, MSC Lirica and MSC Melody. MSC Divina’s sister ship MSC Preziosa is scheduled to join the fleet in March 2013.
The 139,500-gross-registered-ton MSC Divina, built at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, can carry 3,502 passengers double occupancy and 4,345 total. The ship, which can travel at up to 23 knots, features a new panoramic restaurant in the disco, based on the style of famous 1950s Italian nightclubs such as La Capannina and Forte dei Marmi.
A new restaurant, Galaxy, will feature specially designed lamps and a stylish black, grey and Bordeaux color scheme. Galaxy provides a brunch menu for late risers and Mediterranean fusion cuisine for dinner. The ship will have six other restaurants, including the MSC Yacht Club restaurant Le Muse, the Sacramento Tex Mex and the Sacramento Hamburger House.
MSC Divina, like the MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, featires the MSC Yacht Club, a 69-luxury suite area described as a “ship-within-a-ship.” The Yacht Club has butler service, free wines and spirits in exclusive lounges and pool area, and other private venues such as Le Muse panoramic restaurant and Top Sail Lounge.
All MSC Divina guests have access to three restaurants and a Tex-Mex alternative eatery; the Aqua Park with fountains and water jets; MSC Aurea Spa with Balinese-inspired treatments; children’s and teen areas; an interactive 4-D cinema; virtual Formula 1 auto racing simulator; and the 1,603-seat Pantheon Theatre.
Following the christening, MSC Divina sailed on May 27 on a six-night cruise to Venice, calling at Civitavecchia, Messina, Valetta and Dubrovnik. The ship will then begin a series of seven-night Eastern Mediterranean roundtrips from Venice and Bari, calling in Katakalon, Izmir, Istanbul and Dubrovnik, through October.