MAGNIFICA – The world’s most modern fleet continues to grow
Mar 23, 2010
Author: Terry Hutson
MSC Crociere has officially taken delivery of its new ship MSC Magnifica from the STX Europe shipyard at Saint-Nazaire (France).
In the traditional “flag ceremony”, the shipyard’s pennant and the French flag were first lowered, accompanied by the French national anthem, before Jacques Hardelay, General Manager of STX Europe, formally handed the ship over to MSC Crociere shipowner Gianluigi Aponte. Mr Aponte then gave command of the ship to Captain Giuliano Bossi, and the flags of Italy and MSC Crociere were raised to the sound of the Italian national anthem.
The honour of cutting the ribbon fell to MSC vice-president Mrs Alexa Aponte Vago, daughter of Mr Aponte and wife of MSC Crociere CEO Pierfrancesco Vago, who was also in attendance, as was the Manager of MSC Croisière France & Belux Erminio Eschena. After the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne, three blasts from the ship’s siren signalled the end of the ceremony.
On behalf of MSC Crociere, CEO Pierfrancesco Vago said: “We are delighted and proud to take delivery of this magnificent new ship, bringing the MSC Crociere fleet to 11 units. Our capacity has increased 10 times in just 7 years to reach 1,200,000 passengers in 2010, an unprecedented rate of growth.
“But our growth is not just a question of numbers, he continued. “MSC Crociere has earned worldwide recognition for its industry-leading innovations in ship design, and MSC Magnifica is the perfect demonstration. Based on a tried and tested model, she introduces previously unseen levels of sophistication and comfort, and does so in total respect for the highest environmental standards.”
In his speech, STX Europe’s General Manager Jacques Hardelay said: “We are honoured that STX France has once again contributed to the growth of the most modern cruise fleet. MSC Magnifica brightly displays the know-how and constant improvement capacity of both the STX France SA’s teams and our partners. This new cruise ship illustrates the excellent and exceptional collaboration between Saint-Nazaire and MSC Crociere teams.”
MSC Magnifica is the eleventh ship in the fleet. 293.8m long, 59.4m tall, 32m wide, and capable of carrying over 3,000 guests, her elegant design is once again the work of award-winning naval architects De Jorio Design International. With respect to her sister vessels in the ‘Musica’ class, her 22,000 square metres of public areas contain numerous innovations, from the Magrodome sliding roof over one of the pools to the 10-pin bowling, vintage billiard room and interactive 4D cinema.
After an inaugural visit to Southampton dedicated to the UK market, MSC Magnifica was scheduled to begin her pre-christening cruise from Saint-Nazaire on Monday 1 March, calling at Cherbourg (Tue 2nd), Dover (Wed 3rd) and Amsterdam (Thu 4th) before reaching the port of Hamburg (Fri 5th) for the official christening ceremony on Saturday 6 March.
This grand event will be attended by an array of show business stars, including UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and international singing sensation Nana Mouskouri, world-famous Italian singer-songwriter Eros Ramazzotti and platinum-selling German artist Sasha.
Of course, the heart of the event will be the cutting of the ribbon and the naming of the ship by screen legend Sophia Loren, to a crescendo of champagne and fireworks.
The christening ceremony can be enjoyed not only by those in Hamburg – onboard and ashore on two giant floating screens in the beautiful Landungsbrucken area of the harbour - but also by online spectators around the world seen here on MSC TV
Mr Stefano Vigoriti, managing director of MSC Cruises in South Africa and responsible for the Sub Saharan region, said the addition of MSC Magnifica to the MSC Crociere fleet will provide South African travellers with an exceptional new state-of-the-art cruising option in Europe.
“South Africans have been able to experience the high standard of cruising on offer from MSC Crociere through MSC Sinfonia which has been operating out of Durban in the Indian Ocean region this past summer. MSC Magnifica, positioned as it is at the top end of our stable of 11 cruise liners, is sure to deliver that “wow” factor for anyone choosing to cruise aboard her in Europe,” said Mr Vigoriti.
MSC Sinfonia, which has been described as the finest floating hotel ever to operate out of a South African port for a full summer season, returns to Europe on 1 April. She will cruise in the Mediterranean during the Northern Hemisphere summer and return to South Africa for a second season from November this year until May next year, making it the longest season yet for a cruise liner in South African waters.
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