The line will begin revealing details for the christening in August, ahead of the ship’s naming in Southampton next year. Antonio Paradiso, managing director UK and Ireland, told TTG the event would be “the best launch yet” for MSC, which christened its third ship in 12 months, MSC Seaview, in Genoa last weekend.
Having previously announced that 3,000 travel trade guests would be invited to a three-day celebration over March 1-3, 2019, Paradiso confirmed that the number had risen.
He personally invited every delegate that attended last month’s Clia Cruise Conference to see Bellissima – set to be the largest ship ever to be christened in the UK – when it comes to British shores for the event next year.
“I’m more than happy to see the numbers going up. We want to share the moment with our industry partners and friends,” he said. Paradiso said the line would be launching a series of trade competitions and had a number of “really cool ideas” for agents to win invites.
With regard to entertainment for the christening, Paradiso said to “watch this space” in the coming months, promising an “extremely UK-driven” feel for the celebration.
Meanwhile Seaview, the 15th ship in MSC’s growing fleet, was christened by godmother veteran Hollywood actress Sophia Loren on June 9, with dignitaries and around 70 agents from the UK and Ireland in attendance.
The vessel is designed for warmer climates and features the highest ratio of outdoor space of any MSC ship. The 5,179-passenger ship will be based in the Med before transferring to South America for winter.
Seaview features 10 restaurants, 20 bars and lounges, seven new theatre productions, five waterslides, dual zip lines and bowling lanes, a Formula 1 simulator and 4D cinema.
In total, the line has a further 10 ships on order between 2018 and 2026. Paradiso said the feedback the line had received from UK agents on Seaview and sister ship Seaside had been “exceptional”.