Coin Ceremony For MSC Magnifica In St. Nazaire

ST. NAZAIRE, FRANCE (MAY 7, 2008) — Today, at the Aker Yards France shipyards in St. Nazaire, one of the oldest marine traditions was celebrated once again: the Coin Ceremony.

In the presence of Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises, and Jacques Hardelay, managing director of Aker Yards France, together sealed two coins into the central block of MSC Magnifica, which will join MSC Cruises’ fleet during the spring of 2010. The godmothers of the ceremony were Lidia Aversa, promotion manager of MSC Technical Department since 1993, and Mrs Anne Hardelay for Aker Yards France.

Following tradition, the first coin was donated by the ship owner and the second by the shipyard. The MSC Cruises’ coin – minted in pure gold for the occasion – bears the City of Venice coat of arms as a testament to the deep bond between the company and the Serenissima (Serene) Venice. The other side of the coin shows the traditional rose of the winds, the MSC logo. The Aker Yards France coin is a 1978 50 French francs silver coin.

MSC Magnifica will be delivered to the ship owner in December 2009. It will be the twelfth ship of the fleet and the fourth sister ship of the “Music” class: at 92,400 tons, it will have 1,259 staterooms – of which 80 percent are outside – for a double occupancy of 2,550 guests.

Two other ships are currently being built at the St. Nazaire shipyards: MSC Fantasia and its sister ship, MSC Splendida. Both will be the largest ships ever built for a European ship owner (133,500 tons). They will be the start of a new management of space concept in cruise ships. The MSC Yacht Club on board MSC Fantasia is an exclusive VIP area with 99 spacious suites, exclusive service with a butler, private access and reserved common areas.

MSC Fantasia will be launched in Naples Dec. 18, 2008, while delivery of MSC Splendida is expected in June 2009.

“MSC Magnifica is our fourth new ship in 24 months. With her, we have reached the highest growth rate of these last years, allowing us to expand our fleet significantly,” said Vago. “MSC Magnifica should, therefore, be seen as another step toward our goal: reaching 12 ships by 2010. The arrival of MSC Magnifica, with its technical features like the Magrodome, is proof of our commitment to fulfill our clients’ needs. We have increased our ability to answer their wish to cruise all year long, regardless of weather conditions.”

“The ‘Musica’ class has proved its efficiency in the European cruise market. MSC Magnifica, fourth vessel of the series, is the ultimate evolution,” said Hardelay. “She will bring more fun, new experiences, more comfort to cruisers while keeping operation costs low for MSC Cruises. With MSC, we are not only following the growth of a new leader in the cruise market but we also are changing the way operators look at their relationship with shipbuilders and what results they can achieve with good cooperation.”