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I was there in Marseille for this exciting event! – John Treacy, Editor Cruising News.

‘Med with passion’ was the tag chosen by MSC Cruises for the naming ceremony of its newest flagship, MSC Divina, which took place alongside the Marseille Provence Cruise Terminal. Prior to the naming ceremony MSC Cruises ceo Pierfrancesco Vago, resident godmother Sophia Loren, French actor Gerard Depardieu and celebrity chef Christian Constant, creator of the gala dinner menu, held a press conference with about 400 members of the media from around the world. As Sophia Loren was escorted to the room by MSC owner Gianluigi Aponte the media clamoured extremely close to take photos and ask questions.

After a cocktail party it was time for the specially planned high-profile evening event dockside which began under blue skies and sunshine. The just over two-hour spectacular commenced with the Captens Aerobatic Display Team and the Breitling Jet Team presenting an aerial stunt show around and above the ship. This was followed by a performance from La Poulido de Gèmo, a local folk-group who preserved regional traditions through dance, music and traditional costumes. A dynamic medley of MSC Divina’s theatrical shows followed with energetic dance, acrobatics, and an impressive 14-person pyramid. Next it was sistership MSC Fantasia setting sail from the port, sounding her horn in tribute to the new addition to the fleet.

Much loved Gerard Depardieu, one of Europe’s most accomplished actors and talented leading men, then provided a special narration of the evening’s events and the story of MSC Divina in his own lively and entertaining manner.

 

 

 

The christening was attended by celebrated 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. After talking about this initiative, which has raised more than $1.3 million Euros to date, Vengerov then entertained with a group of local children who released hundreds of UNICEF balloons to mark the occasion. He delighted guests with a violin solo.

The event’s main artist, critically acclaimed Italian singer, pianist and composer Paolo Conte, mesmerized the audience with his resonant voice and his colorful and dreamy compositions, evocative of jazz and blues.

Prior to a parade of the ship’s officers, MSC Cruises ceo Pierfrancesco Vago addressed the guests specifically thanking Rafaela Aponte, wife of MSC owner, Gianluigi Aponte and his mother- in-law, plus designer Marco de Jorio for the interior of the ship and the 1,000 dedicated professionals associated with STX France’s St Nazaire yard for their hard work “Since 2003 we have built our ships on French soil, partnering with the French shipyard and heavily contributing to employment and the economy. 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.”

As the darkness of night arrived MrVago invited MSC Divina’s godmother, screen legend Sophia Loren, to the podium to name the ship. She was accompanied by Capt. Giuliano Bossi and MSC owner, Gianluigi Aponte. As the ribbon was cut and the champagne bottle smashed against the hull there was a crescendo of champagne, confetti, and sparkling fountains were thrust into the sky from huge letters spelling out the ship’s name.

It was certainly a night to remember! Guests then re-embarked the ship for a gala dinner with French cuisine prepared by chef Christian Constant.

MSC Divina is now sailing from Venice on cruises to the western Mediterranean. The ship will be heading for America sailing from Miami, Florida for a season of 7night eastern and western Caribbean cruises, beginning late November 2013 through May 2014 before returning to Europe.

 
 
 
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