MSC Opera sets off on inaugural transatlantic journey
Nov 17, 2004
Godmother Sophia Loren will welcome ship to Florida for first Caribbean season
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (Nov. 15, 2004) – MSC Opera is on her way!
The new flagship of the MSC Cruises’ fleet has departed Genoa, Italy, on her inaugural transatlantic crossing. The 17-night voyage includes visits to Barcelona, Casablanca, Funchal, Barbados, Antigua, Tortola, St. Maarten, Nassau and a total of eight days at sea.
The 1,756-passenger ship is scheduled to arrive in Fort Lauderdale Thursday, Dec. 2 to a gala welcome. Festivities will include a VIP dinner with guest of honour Sophia Loren, the ship’s godmother. Ms. Loren christened the ship at 26 June ceremonies in Genoa.
“We are honoured to have Ms. Loren join us as we introduce MSC Opera to the North American market,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA. “This is an exciting time for MSC Cruises as, for the first time, we will have two ships sailing Caribbean waters.”
Constructed in Chantiers de l’Atlantique of St. Nazaire, France, MSC Opera is the second newbuild in the line’s fleet, joining its sistership, MSC Lirica, which returns to the Caribbean in January for its second season. They are part of the line’s billion expansion plan introduced in 2003. In the last year, the cruise line also purchased two other ships (renamed MSC Armonia and MSC Sinfonia); with these purchases, the fleet grew from four to seven ships in two years.
Two more Panamax vessels are on order for delivery in 2006 and 2007 and other additions to the fleet are under consideration.
MSC Opera departs 4 December on the first of a series of alternating seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries out of Fort Lauderdale. The 58,600-ton MSC Opera has two restaurants, a grill and pizzeria, two pools, two hydro-massages, spa, fitness center, Internet café, coffee corner, seven bars, virtual reality center, casino, disco, shopping gallery, theater, miniature golf course and Children’s Club.
For more information about MSC Cruises, visit your travel agent or www.msccruises.com
MSC Cruises has a fleet of seven ships: MSC Opera, MSC Lirica, MSC Melody, MSC Monterey, MSC Rhapsody, MSC Armonia, and MSC Sinfonia. The fleet will increase to nine ships by 2007. MSC Cruises offers 40 different itineraries in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean, South America and South Africa. MSC Cruises is the largest Italian-owned cruise company and is part of Mediterranean Shipping Company, the second largest shipping company in the world, with a fleet of 250 ships.