VIDEO: MSC Meraviglia Christened by Sophia Loren

By ,   June 4, 2017 ,   Cruise Industry

The list of the world's largest cruise ships now includes an MSC Cruises ship. The Switzerland-based line yesterday, June 3, formally welcomed the new giant, MSC Meraviglia, with a fabulous christening ceremony in Le Havre.

Italian actress Sophia Loren served as godmother for the newbuild during the event. She sliced a blue ribbon and sent a bottle of Champagne smashing against ship's hull. The nearly-2-hour ceremony included an extended musical performance by French singer and actor Patrick Bruel and by French pop group Kids United. Comedian Gad Elmaleh performed the role of a master of the event, which ended with fireworks, visible across Le Havre.

At 171,598 GT, MSC Meraviglia is the 4th largest cruise ship ever built, smaller only than the 3 Oasis Class ships that Royal Caribbean International has unveiled since 2009. 

MSC Cruises is a giant of cruising in Europe but relatively unknown in North America. 19 decks high and more than 1,000 ft long, Meraviglia is the first MSC ship to rank among the top 5 largest cruise ships, and ushers in an era of rapid growth at the line which likely will see it compete more closely with North American-based cruise giants as Carnival and Royal Caribbean.

Currently operating 13 cruise ships, privately-owned MSC revealed plans to add at least ten more similarly large vessels by 2026 including four 200,000 GT vessels that will hold a total of 6,850 passengers — more than any other cruise liner currently at sea.