MSC Splendida: More than a cruise ship - Press Releases

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Today, Sunday 12 July 2009, in Barcelona (Spain), MSC Cruises' stunning new flagship MSC Splendida will be christened in suitably splendid style by screen legend Sophia Loren. The ceremony will be accompanied by a spectacular gala show starring operatic maestro José Carreras and other acclaimed artists.

The choice of Barcelona follows MSC Cruises' innovative practice of christening its ships in different countries, a tradition that started with MSC Poesia in Dover in April 2008 and will continue with MSC Magnifica in Hamburg next year.

The arrival of MSC Splendida brings the number of ships in the MSC Cruises fleet to ten. She and sister ship MSC Fantasia are the largest ships ever built by a European ship owner. Each capable of carrying 3,959 passengers, these "floating cities" are 333m long, 66.8m tall and weigh 137,936 metric tons.

MSC Splendida's design, by leading naval architects De Jorio Design International, boasts numerous technological innovations dedicated to ensuring unsurpassed levels of guest comfort and environmental protection. In recognition of her eco-friendly credentials, she will receive the prestigious „6 Golden Pearls‟ award, previously awarded to MSC Fantasia. The award will be presented at the press conference prior to the christening ceremony, by Mr Didier Chaleat, Senior Vice-President of Bureau Veritas.

"With MSC Fantasia, we believed we had built the most beautiful ship in the world," comments Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises. "Now I know we were wrong. MSC Splendida truly lives up to her name, bringing more splendour to cruising than has ever been seen before. With her arrival, our fleet now numbers ten ships, an important milestone that could not have been achieved without the qualities always shown by the MSC Cruises team: energy, passion and professionalism. Qualities that could equally refer to Barcelona itself, a dynamic city and a truly important port for us, with 82 calls bringing 304,000 passengers here this year alone."

On Saturday 11 July, as a prelude to the christening, the MSC Cruceros Cup was held in Barcelona‟s Palau Blaugrana arena. This charitable indoor football tournament brought together three of the world‟s most successful clubs - F.C. Barcelona, A.C. Milan and Real Madrid C.F. - each team playing both of the other teams. All proceeds from the event will be used to help the victims of the recent earthquake in Italy‟s Abruzzo region.

The event marking MSC Splendida's christening is set to be as dramatic and awe-inspiring as the ship herself. Featuring an exceptional Flamenco performance by Joaquín Cortés and a spectacular display of castells, the Catalan tradition of human towers, the evening‟s entertainment will also include a special concert by world famous tenor José Carreras. Performing in his hometown, the maestro will be accompanied by the 60 musicians of the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès and later joined by classical dancer Eleonora Abbagnato, first soloist of the Opéra National de Paris.

Completing the colourful ceremony will be a parade of the ships‟ officers and, of course, the traditional cutting of the ribbon by the godmother of the MSC Cruises fleet, Sophia Loren.
The christening ceremony will be streamed live on and will subsequently be available for viewing on the same website or on

Sophia Loren was born in Rome and grew up near Naples. Her talent and beauty helped her to become an international icon. Considered the most popular Italian actress of her time, she has won numerous awards, including an Oscar for her role in La Ciociara (Two Women).

José Carreras was born in Barcelona. His extraordinary career has seen him collaborate with the most renowned orchestra conductors, performing a repertoire of over sixty operas and making over 150 recordings. Since 1988, he has also enthusiastically presided over the "José Carreras International Leukaemia Foundation".

The Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès, founded in 1987, is based in the city of Sabadell, Spain, and appears as the regular orchestra of the Opera in Catalonia. In 1992, it was awarded the National Music Prize of Catalonia.

Joaquín Cortés was born in Cordoba and started his dancing studies when he was twelve. He soon became a performer and choreographer whose unique style has changed the face of Flamenco around the world. In 1992 he created his own company: Joaquín Cortés Ballet Flamenco.

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