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Today at the STX France shipyard, MSC Cruises took delivery of their new ship MSC Meraviglia. During the vessel’s flag ceremony, which pays tribute to a centuries-old maritime tradition, the company’s newest flagship received her flag and blessing for good fortune.
MSC Meraviglia is both the largest ship to ever be built by a European ship owner – MSC Cruises – and the largest to come into service this year, weighing in at 171,598 gross tons and holding 5,714 guests. Under MSC’s investment plan, she is one of six new ships due to enter service between 2017 and 2020. Four will be built by STX France, who have already produced all 13 vessels in the cruise line’s fleet.
During today’s ceremony, the shipyard’s pennant and the French flag were lowered, and Laurent Castaing, the CEO of STX France, formally handed the ship over to MSC owner Gianluigi Aponte. He then gave command of Meraviglia to Master Raffaele Pontecorvo before the ship’s flag and MSC Cruises’ pennant were raised. The honor of ribbon cutting was left to the ceremony’s godmother, Ms. Zoe Africa Vago, the daughter of MSC Cruises’ executive chairman and MSC Group’s CFO, Alexa Aponte-Vago. After the breaking of the bottle of champagne, three blasts from the ship’s horn signaled the end of the ceremony.
Meraviglia is the 13th ship to join MSC’s fleet since its inception in 2003, and has been designed to operate in all seasons. Now, she is due to set sail for the Port of Le Havre for her christening ceremony on June 3. She will then begin her first sailing along the Atlantic coast. She will then sail her first regular 7-night itinerary on June 11, sailing from Genoa to Naples, Messina, Valletta, Barcelona, and Marseille.