On Saturday 2nd March 2019 MSC Cruises officially welcomed MSC Bellissima to their fleet. BeatyAtSea, as Bellissima is lovingly nicknamed, was christened in a glamourous and traditional maritime Naming Ceremony in the port of Southampton.
On Saturday we joined a host of stars, VIPs as well as top management from MSC Cruises and its parent company MSC Group for the spectacular Naming Ceremony of MSC Bellissima. Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group’s founder and executive chairman as well as the ship owner, together with the Aponte and Aponte-Vago families were also present and joined in the festivities.
Hosting the evening’s celebrations was English TV presenter and star of ITV, Holly Willoughby.
First to take to the stage were world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli and Matteo Bocelli. Their performance of ‘Fall on me’, accompanied by a group of young children, left no one in the audience untouched.
Next up were the traditional speeches by Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, and Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director of MSC Cruises UK and Ireland. During his speech Mr. Paradiso announced MSC Cruises’ partnership with Reuben’s Retreat, a charitable organization which provides help and support to families across the UK.
Cirque du Soleil at Sea entertained the crowd with a very special performance. In fact this was the first time that the world-leader in live entertainment performed at the launch of a ship.
Due to increasing strong winds the ceremony in the Marquee tent was cut short and moved to the nearly 100-meter-long Mediterranean-style promenade onboard MSC Cruises’ new flagship. Here the 80-meter-long LED Sky Dome provided the perfect background to showcase the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne against the hull of MSC Bellissima.
This marked the 14th time Hollywood legend Sophia Loren officially named a new MSC Cruises ship.
After the official ceremony we enjoyed a delicious Gala Dinner designed by Raymond Blanc. Two Michelin starred Chef Blanc is one of the finest chefs in the world and has had a profound influence on Britain’s culinary landscape.
MSC Bellissima is the second of the Meraviglia class ships to come into service and is designed as a ship for all seasons. Bellissima features the very latest in guest-centric technology with the world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant, ZOE. Other key highlights include two new exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, more than 20 bars and and lounges and 12 dining venues, including a new French specialty restaurant L’Atelier Bistrot. The ship also features acclaimed pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury’s Chocolate & Café, dedicated entirely to unique and elegant chocolate creations and desserts and a delight for anyone with a sweet tooth.
The MSC Yacht Club with luxurious accommodations spans three decks offering private facilities and butler service round-the-clock.
MSC Bellissima will spend her inaugural season in the Mediterranean offering 7-night cruises to some of the region’s most popular ports before moving to the Emirates for Winter 2019/2020. Following that she will be deployed in Asia in 2020.