MSC Cruises will christen its first cruise ship in more than a decade. The last MSC cruise ship to be named in the UK was MSC Poesia in Dover in 2008.
MSC Bellissima will be named in Southampton on March 2, 2019, and more than 3,000 guests and travel partners will be visiting the ship as it docks in port for three days. The 5,700-guest Bellissima become will be the largest ship ever to be christened in the UK.
Antonio Paradiso, managing director UK and Ireland, said ‘We have chosen to host the christening of MSC Bellissima in Southampton as a demonstration of our continued commitment to growth in the UK and Ireland,’ MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said in London on Wednesday. ‘This is a truly beautiful ship, worthy of the name Bellissima, and this christening will be a truly beautiful moment for MSC Cruises and the UK.’
The Meraviglia-class cruise ship will sail its maiden voyage from Southampton to Genoa two days later.
Bellissima will become MSC Cruises’ fourth mega-ship to come into service in less than three years since 2017 as part of a 12-ship, ten-year €10.5 billion investment programme.
MSC Cruises also revealed that Bellissima will debut an onboard “digital personal assistant” system for passengers. Developed by MSC and Samsung subsidiary Harman, responsible for a number of voice-enabled technology created for Amazon, Google and Microsoft, the virtual personal assistant will communicate with guests through its voice-enabled AI and offer information such as weather updates and excursion timings.
Bellissima will feature two new shows from Cirque du Soleil, a new French bistro dining concept, British brands such as handbag designer Radley and luxury biscuit manufacturer Cartwright & Butler will be sold in the boutiques on board.