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Sophia Loren Christens MSC Splendida

Search ASIA Travel Tips .com Latest Travel News Send to Friend Wednesday, 15 July 2009

MSC Cruise’s new flagship, the MSC Splendida, was christened last Sunday (12 July 2009) by screen legend Sophia Loren. The ceremony was accompanied by a spectacular gala show starring operatic maestro José Carreras and other acclaimed artists.

The choice of Barcelona follows MSC Cruise’s practice of christening its ships in different countries, a tradition that started with MSC Poesia in Dover in April 2008 and will continue with MSC Magnifica in Hamburg next year.

The arrival of MSC Splendida brings the number of ships in the MSC Cruises fleet to 10. She and her sister ship MSC Fantasia are the largest ships ever built by a European ship owner. Each capable of carrying 3,959 passengers, these “floating cities” are 333,3m long, 66.8m tall and weigh 137,936 metric tons.

MSC Splendida’s design, by leading naval architects De Jorio Design International, boasts numerous technological innovations dedicated to ensuring the highest levels of guest comfort and environmental protection.

“With MSC Fantasia, we believed we had built the most beautiful ship in the world,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises. “Now I know we were wrong. MSC Splendida truly lives up to her name, bringing more splendour to cruising than has ever been seen before. With her arrival, our fleet now numbers ten ships, an important milestone that could not have been achieved without the qualities always shown by the MSC Cruises team: energy, passion and professionalism. Qualities that could equally refer to Barcelona itself, a dynamic city and a truly important port for us, with 82 calls bringing 304,000 passengers here this year alone.”

On Saturday 11 July, as a prelude to the christening, the MSC Cruceros Cup was held in Barcelona’s Palau Blaugrana arena. This charitable indoor football tournament brought together three of the world’s most successful clubs - F.C. Barcelona, A.C. Milan and Real Madrid C.F. - each team playing both of the other teams. Proceeds from the event is being used to help the victims of the recent earthquake in Italy’s Abruzzo region.

The event marking MSC Splendida’s christening was as dramatic and awe-inspiring as the ship herself. Featuring a performance by Flamenco dance troupe Los Vivancos and a spectacular display of castells, the Catalan tradition of human towers, the evening’s entertainment also included a special concert by world famous tenor José Carreras. Performing in his hometown, the maestro was accompanied by the 60 musicians of the Orquestra Simfňnica del Vallčs.

Completing the colourful ceremony was a parade of the ships’ officers and the traditional cutting of the ribbon by the godmother of the MSC Cruises fleet, Sophia Loren. The celebrations culminated in a dazzling fireworks display.

MSC Splendida will be launching a brand new cruising route starting from Barcelona (Spain), then embarking in a series of inspiring itineraries to many of history’s most famous sites, including Genoa (Italy), Tunis (Tunisia), La Valletta (Malta), Messina (Sicily, Italy), Civitavecchia (Rome/ Italy), and Marseilles (France).

From November 16 onwards, the cruising route will extend and starting from Barcelona (Spain), then embarking in Genoa (Italy), Katakolon (Greece), Piraeus (Greece), Rhodes(Greece), Alexandria (Egypt), Marmaris (Turkey), Heraklion (Crete), Massina (Sicily,Italy), Naples (Italy), and ending at Genoa (Italy).

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