Thursday 25 February 2010 saw the flag-changing ceremony for the new MSC Magnifica cruise ship. The fourth ship in the Musica class, MSC Magnifica is also the tenth cruise ship built in Saint-Nazaire for the owner MSC Cruises.

MSC Magnifica is 294 metres long, 32 metres wide and 60 metres tall, and differs from her three predecessors due to its covered pool, enlarged cafeteria area and many decorative and technological innovations. It is a truly unique ship.

“We are proud and honoured of the new contribution that STX France SA has made to the expansion of the most modern of cruise fleets. MSC Magnifica is a stunning demonstration of the expertise and permanent capacity for improvement shown by the teams at STX France SA and our partners. This new cruise ship illustrates the excellent and exceptional partnership between the teams in Saint-Nazaire and those at MSC Cruises," explains Jacques Hardelay, President of STX France SA.

MSC Magnifica left the Loire estuary in the early afternoon with 600 passengers on board for a pre-inaugural cruise to Southampton. She will arrive back in Saint-Nazaire on 1 March, returning the city to its rightful place as a cruising start and end point, a pleasure which it has not enjoyed for several decades.

MSC Magnifica will then set off for Hamburg with 2,500 German passengers on board, where she will be christened in front of its godmother, screen legend Sophia Loren, on Saturday 6 March 2010.