MSC Cruises’ newest ship, the MSC Seaside, made its official debut Thursday evening in a naming ceremony headlined by the ship’s godmother, movie star Sophia Loren.
MSC Seaside is the second ship to be launched in the past six months by MSC Cruises as part of its fleet expansion plan, which will see a total of 12 new ships come into service between 2017 and 2026.
MSC Seaside is the fifth new prototype the cruise line has developed since it entered the industry in 2003, said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman, in a written release. The ship has been designed to spearhead the next phase of the cruise line’s growth in North America, an important part of its global strategy. MSC Seaside will be one of three MSC Cruises ships to homeport in Miami: MSC Seaside, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Divina.
MSC Cruises also announced today two new partnerships specifically for MSC Seaside and relevant for the North American market. The first is with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF), where MSC Cruises’ guest donations will support ABF’s work in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world currently facing exceptional challenges. Every dollar donated on board by a guest will go directly to the Foundation, MSC Cruises said, establishing schools that become community centers and launching projects such as the Mobile Clinic, providing health care assistance and prevention, clean water, lighting and agricultural development.
To mark the launch of the partnership with ABF, the world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli took to the stage during the naming ceremony with 30 children from the Voices of Haiti, a talented choir of Haitian school students aged between six and 14 that brings music into the schools of the ABF and St. Luke Foundation for Haiti.
In collaboration with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, the project aims to reach over 2,550 children in five communities in Haiti.
MSC Cruises also announced a new partnership with Joe Bastianich, the award-winning restaurateur, author, and TV personality with 30 successful restaurants worldwide – including Babbo and Del Posto in New York, and Carnevino in Las Vegas. Bastianich will become the newest addition to the impressive line-up of chefs and restaurateurs partnering with MSC Cruises across its global fleet, and will create a signature dish exclusively for MSC Seaside on the Elegant Night menu.
MSC Seaside sails with six specialty restaurants spotlighting concepts from around the globe. One of these is a new dining experience from pan-Asian chef Roy Yamaguchi, with whom MSC Cruises has partnered to create a new Asian-Fusion dining concept, Asian Market Kitchen.
To celebrate the coming into service of MSC Seaside, the cruise line hosted an event in PortMiami and paid homage to traditional seafaring customs. Guests in attendance included guests from around the globe, including authorities and key partners from the travel industry, as well as US and global media alongside guests from closer to home. Headlining the entertainment for the evening’s naming ceremony was multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy winner, Ricky Martin.
Making a guest appearance at the event was Miami football legend and Hall of Fame quarterback, Dan Marino, who was with the Miami Dolphins for 17 years. Earlier this year, MSC Cruises signed a partnership with the Miami Dolphins and became the official cruise line for the team. Fans and guests will have the chance to experience the Miami Dolphins at sea and meet team alumni on a themed cruise on MSC Seaside in 2018. Marino presented MSC Cruises USA President Roberto Fusaro with a signed football helmet to be displayed on board as a symbol of the partnership.
The finale of the evening’s events was the time-honored tradition of breaking a bottle of champagne over the bow of the ship as MSC Seaside was officially named aloud. Sophia Loren acted as godmother to the ship, her 12th for MSC Cruises.
In charge of the whole evening’s entertainment was actor and popular American TV host, Mario Lopez, who served as the Master of Ceremonies. Lopez also welcomed guests to the star-lit festivities on the “Blue Carpet,” where celebrities gave interviews, took photographs, and met the crowds. Lopez then took to the stage to host the evening’s entertainment.
Inspired by the architecture and lifestyle of Miami, MSC Seaside will include a number of options for entertainment, a range of international dining concepts, a spa, family-friendly facilities, the private “ship within a ship” MSC Yacht Club, and expansive outdoor spaces. The ship will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean on seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries starting December 23.
During the event, Travel Agent got a chance to check out the new ship – stay tuned to www.travelagentcentral.com for our firsthand report.