We headed to Southampton for the exciting naming ceremony of the new MSC Bellissima…

There is nothing quite so exciting at the moment than the cruise industry and one company in particular showed this this weekend. For the 2nd of March saw one of the most exciting events of the year – the official naming ceremony for the MSC Bellissima.

MSC Bellissima Main Ceremony-01
Image credit: Ivan Sarfatti

The event started with the ship sailing over to the UK from France, where it welcomed guests aboard Friday for an exclusive first look around the ship. We were lucky enough to be part of this and were overwhelmed by the sheer beauty, luxury and opulence of the MSC Bellissima. The sister ship to MSC Meraviglia (with a few new updates and a refresh to the decor and colour scheme – you can read more about this in our article here) it has a passenger capacity of 5,686 with 2,217 cabins – 1,418 of these with balconies. The ship sparkles with six Swarovski staircases and there are twelve dining venues, six broadway-style theatre shows, a virtual games arcade, pools and hot tubs, a rope walk and water park. MSC Bellissima also announced they were bringing two new Cirque du Soleil shows on board, in their dedicated show space. This dedication for innovation and knowing just how to keep their guests intrigued, interested and fulfill their quest for something new is one aspect which keeps MSC at the forefront of the cruising industry.

MSC BellissimaThe MSC Bellissima naming ceremony took place on Saturday the 2nd of March, where a beautiful marquee and blue carpet stood in the glittering shadow of the incredible 65 metre Bellissima. A ribbon holding the bottle ready to be smashed against the side hung silhouetted against the night sky. The ceremony was lavish and the air electric – excitement was bubbling to see in the ceremonious moment the ship was officially christened. Hosted by Holly Willoughby, the evening opening with a beautiful performance from Andrea and Matteo Bocelli, before handing over to members of the MSC Cruise team such as CEO Gianni Onorato, Pierfrancesco Vago the Executive Chairman and Antonio Paradiso the Managing Director. We learnt more of the history of the family-run cruise line as well as their commitment to helping the environment, with aspects such as the banning of single use plastic they are working to implement and environmental technologies ranging from an exhaust gas cleaning system to an advanced wastewater treatment plant to systems for preventing oil discharge. This care is at the heart of MSC, something which was further shown with their new partnership with charity Reuben’s Retreat – a charity dedicated to helping families following one Mum’s loss of her son Reuben at just 23 months. (You can find out more and support the cause here.)

MSC Bellissima Main Ceremony-01
Image credit: Ivan Sarfatti
MSC Bellissima Main Ceremony-01
Image credit: Ivan Sarfatti
MSC Bellissima naming ceremony
Image Credit: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

The evening saw a special performance from the Cirque du Soleil team in truly spectacular fashion – you can find out about when we experienced Cirque Du Soleil on the MSC Meraviglia here.) Unfortunately with about half hour left of the evening the raging weather (in true British style – thanks Storm Freya!) rendered it unsafe to stay in the marquee, so we had to carry on the celebrations on board. However if there is anything we know about being in the UK, it is that we never let the weather get in the way of anything and so champagne continued to flow, the atmosphere continued to heighten and the ceremony continued from the beautiful ship main promenade. Holly Willoughby continued to present, before Sophia Loren – the ship’s Godmother entered to do the countdown to the ships christening and official bottle breaking. As everyone counted to zero, the bottle was filmed smashing into the ship, celebrations exploded, cheers erupted and fireworks flew across the ships 80 metre LED sky.

MSC Bellissima Main Ceremony-01
Image credit: Ivan Sarfatti
MSC Bellissima Main Ceremony-01
Image credit: Ivan Sarfatti
Image credit: Ivan Sarfatti

Celebrations continued late into the night and it was an event to be remembered. We disembarked the ship (rather bleary eyed) Sunday morning, leaving way for it to be prepped and prepared ahead of its inaugural sailing on Tuesday. It will head to Genoa for a ten day itinerary, before offering seven day sailings around the Western Mediterranean. In November, she will begin sailings from Dubai, while spring 2020 will see her take on a series of voyages in Asia.

You can find more about the MSC Bellissima and book your cruise here. Feel free to email us on info@seeninthecity.co.uk and let us know your thoughts!

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