On May 19th 2012 in Saint-Nazaire, France, MSC Divina was officially delivered to MSC Cruises at the STX France shipyard. During the traditional flag ceremony, the shipyard’s pennant and the French flag were lowered, accompanied by the French national anthem, before Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, formally handed the ship over to MSC Cruises’ owner Gianluigi Aponte.
Mr Aponte then gave command of the ship to Captain Giuliano Bossi, and the flags of Italy and MSC Cruises were raised to the sound of the Italian national anthem. Erminio Eschena, General Director of MSC Cruises France, Belgium and Luxembourg, was also in attendance.
The honour of cutting the ribbon fell to Ela Aponte, wife of MSC Vice-President Diego Aponte, who was also in attendance. After the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne, three blasts from the ship’s siren signalled the end of the ceremony.
“I am very proud of MSC Divina, the 12th addition to our wonderful fleet and our third Fantasia-class ship. I believe she is the most beautiful ship in our fleet and that her innovations and polished features bring this successful class to perfection. Dedicated to Ms Sophia Loren, MSC Divina’s stylish refinement represents a new benchmark in cruising. More than that, MSC Divina is the latest expression of our long-term collaboration with STX France,” said MSC Cruises CEO Mr Pierfrancesco Vago. “Each Fantasia-class ship represents 5 million working hours and an average investment of 550 million euros, over 70% of which directly benefits the French economy, in terms of both employment and the procurement of goods and services in support of the ships’ construction. We believe that the success of a country’s economy relies on such investments in its unique industrial traditions.”
In his speech, STX France’s General Manager Laurent Castaing added: “MSC Divina is the 11th ship in just over 10 years that our shipyard has built which is operated by MSC Cruises. Her sistership MSC Preziosa, currently under construction, will become the 12th ship. Throughout our 150 year history never before have so many vessels been built for one ship owner, and this is a record which deserves to be highlighted today. I myself have even had the opportunity to participate in the construction of a good number of these vessels during my previous roles at the St Nazaire shipyard.”
MSC Divina is 333 metres long, 38 metres wide, and weighing 140,000 tonnes, the 4,345 guest luxury cruise ship is able to travel up to 23 knots, offering smooth cruising in sumptuous surroundings.
Her elegant design is once again the work of award-winning naval architects De Jorio Design International. New features to MSC Divina’s 30,000 square metres of public areas include the Garden Pool, an ‘infinity’ style pool with a chic and minimal design and its four ‘resounding sculptures’, to the Galaxy restaurant in the disco with its fabulous Mediterranean fusion cuisine and its chic décor, based around the theme of light.
After the closing of the flag ceremony, MSC Divina began her pre-christening cruise from Saint-Nazaire, where calls are scheduled at Lisbon, Portugal, on Monday 21 May, Cadiz, Spain on Tuesday 22 May, and Valencia, Spain on Thursday 24 May. She will reach the port of Marseille on Friday 25 May, ready for her official christening ceremony the next day. The highlight of the event will of course be the cutting of the ribbon and the naming of the ship by screen legend Sophia Loren.
Shipbuilding Tribune Staff, May 21, 2012; Image: MSC Cruises