FORT LAUDERDALE, FL -- (Marketwire) -- 05/26/12 -- This evening in Marseille, France, the latest jewel in the MSC Cruises' fleet, MSC Divina, will be christened in suitably elegant style by international screen legend Sophia Loren.
The exclusive high-profile event will include a gala dinner and entertainment from illustrious performers in the company of international celebrities, selected guests, media, authorities and the top management of MSC Cruises.
At the heart of today's festivities lies not only the addition of the 12th ship to the MSC Cruises' ultra-modern fleet, but also the Mediterranean heritage of which the company is so proud. The event is themed "Med with Passion," and MSC Divina represents the embodiment of Mediterranean style. Every detail of the onboard experience and the christening has been carefully planned to reflect the colors, scents, history and the culture of the area, offering guests an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy the region's celebrated values of authenticity and warm hospitality.
Continuing MSC Cruises' tradition of christening its ships in different European ports, the company and the port will pay homage to Marseille and its centuries-old customs.
"Since 2003 we have built our ships on French soil, partnering with the French shipyard and heavily contributing to employment and the economy," said Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO, MSC Cruises. "Tonight in Marseille we will 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."
"We could not have found a better choice than Marseille, where the majority of our French guests embark all year round and where MSC ships will call 80 times in 2012, bringing more than 280,000 international guests to the region," he continued. "MSC has also worked alongside the French Government with substantial investment in the local cruise terminal and MSC Divina's christening event is the perfect opportunity to show MSC guests the comfort and modernity of a state-of-the-art terminal, a fitting gateway to the unforgettable onboard experience they will discover."
The Captens Aerobatic Display Team and the Breitling Jet Team will open tonight's celebrations with two breathtakingly beautiful and skillful aerial shows.
This will be followed by a performance from La Poulido de Gèmo, a local folk-group which strives to preserve regional traditions through dance, music and traditional costumes. Members of the group, both young and old, are all motivated by a love of Provence and its traditions, and this passion for their region shines through with every performance.
A dynamic eight-minute medley of MSC Divina's theatrical shows will follow, complete with energetic dance, acrobatics, and an impressive 14-person pyramid.
Gerard Depardieu, one of Europe's most accomplished actors and talented leading men, will narrate the evening's events and the story of MSC Divina in his own lively and entertaining manner.
The christening will be attended by numerous international stars, including 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 and which has raised more than $1.3 million to date. Vengerov will take to the stage with local children and release hundreds of UNICEF balloons to mark the occasion and delight guests with a violin solo.
The event's main artist, critically acclaimed Italian singer, pianist and composer Paolo Conte, will mesmerize the audience with his resonant voice and his colorful and dreamy compositions, evocative of jazz and blues.
The highlight of the evening will, of course, be the floodlit ceremony and parade of the ship's officers, when the peerless Sophia Loren -- treasured godmother of the MSC Cruises' fleet -- cuts the ribbon and names MSC Divina to a crescendo of champagne, confetti, and sparkling fountains.
While this goes on, an equally talented famous face will be cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Lucky guests will enjoy two signature gourmet menus from French favorite Chef Christian Constant. Each traditional delicacy aims to surprise and delight, and will be prepared using the finest ingredients with a fresh new twist, just like MSC Divina herself.
The Marseilles Provence Cruise Club, who yesterday welcomed MSC Divina into Marseilles harbor with an impressive parade, will see her off again in style tomorrow as she takes to the seas for her long-awaited first season.
The christening ceremony will be streamed live on www.msccruisesusa.com.
About MSC Cruises:
MSC Cruises is a privately-held, family-owned, Italian cruise line with a fleet of 12 ships: MSC Magnifica, MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia, MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera, MSC Lirica and MSC Melody. Its 12th ship, MSC Divina, a sister ship to MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, debuted in May 2012, with sister ship MSC Preziosa scheduled to join the fleet in March 2013. The fleet cruises year round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, South America, the Indian Ocean, and South and West Africa.
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MSC CRUISES (USA), Inc.
Vice President, Marketing & PR