MSC Magnifica Flag Ceremony at STX Europe Shipyard

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (February 25, 2010)—This morning, MSC Cruises officially took ownership of its newest ship, MSC Magnifica, from the STX Europe shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France during a traditional flag ceremony.

The shipyard’s pennant and the French flag were lowered as the French national anthem played. Jacques Hardelay, general manager of STX Europe, formally handed the ship over to MSC Cruises’ shipowner Gianluigi Aponte. Then, Aponte turned over command of the ship to Captain Giuliano Bossi. Finally, the flags of Italy and MSC Cruises were raised as the Italian national anthem played.

MSC vice-president Alexa Aponte-Vago, daughter of shipowner Aponte and wife of MSC Cruises’ worldwide CEO Pierfrancesco Vago, participated in the ribbon cutting. After the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne, three blasts from the ship’s siren signaled the end of the ceremony.

MSC Cruises’ worldwide CEO Pierfrancesco Vago, said, “MSC Magnifica’s delivery brings the fleet to 11; our capacity has increased 10 times in just seven years to reach 1.2 million passengers this year–an unprecedented rate of growth.”

Although the numbers are important, MSC Cruises has earned worldwide recognition for its industry-leading innovations in ship design.

STX Europe’s general manager, Jacques Hardelay, said, “We are honored that STX France has once again contributed to the growth of the most modern cruise fleet. This new cruise ship illustrates the excellent and exceptional collaboration between Saint-Nazaire and MSC Crociere teams.”

After an inaugural visit to Southampton dedicated to England next weekend, MSC Magnifica will begin her pre-christening cruise from Saint-Nazaire on Monday, March 1 calling at Cherbourg, Dover, and Amsterdam before reaching the port of Hamburg for the official christening ceremony on Saturday, March 6.

Screen legend Sophia Loren once again serves as the ship’s godmother, and participates in the ribbon cutting.

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