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 as well as French Minister for Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg, French Junior Minister for Transport and the Maritime Economy Frédéric Cuvillier, H.E. Hye Min LEE, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to France and Mayor of St Nazaire Joël Batteux.
The honor of cutting the ribbon fell to Alexa AponteVago, MSC Vice President. After the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne, three blasts from the ship’s siren signaled the end of the ceremony.
“We are here today to celebrate MSC Preziosa, the 12th addition to MSC’s state-of-the-art fleet and our fourth Fantasia class ship, whose arrival means that MSC Cruises is now the world’s third biggest cruise line,” said MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago. “Thanks to our longstanding and effective collaboration with the STX yard, we have been able to successfully fine-tune our product year upon year. With her unique features and outstanding favorites such as the MSC Yacht Club, I believe MSC Preziosa now brings the MSC Mediterranean experience to perfection. MSC Preziosa completes a cycle, crowning an investment program of over 6 billion euros started in 2003, through which we have realized our ambitious vision of building 10 new ships in just under 10 years.”
After the closing of the flag ceremony, MSC Preziosa today began her pre-inaugural 9-day/8-night cruise from Saint-Nazaire. She will call in Lisbon, Portugal, Cadiz, Spain, Casablanca, Morocco, Valencia, Spain, and Marseille, France, before arriving in the port of Genoa on Friday 22 March, ready for her official christening ceremony the next day. The highlight of the christening event will of course be the cutting of the ribbon and the naming of the ship by screen legend Sophia Loren.
Photos and article courtesy of MSC Cruises.