This morning in Saint-Nazaire, France, MSC Divina was officially delivered to MSC Cruises at the STX France shipyard.

During the traditional flag ceremony, the shipyard’s pennant and the French flag were lowered, accompanied by the French national anthem, before Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, formally handed the ship over to MSC Cruises’ owner Gianluigi Aponte.

Mr Aponte then gave command of the ship to Captain Giuliano Bossi, and the flags of Italy and MSC Cruises were raised to the sound of the Italian national anthem. Erminio Eschena, General Director of MSC Cruises France, Belgium and Luxembourg, was also in attendance.

The honor of cutting the ribbon fell to Ela Aponte, wife of MSC Vice President Diego Aponte, who was also in attendance. After the traditional breaking of a bottle of champagne, three blasts from the ship’s siren signalled the end of the ceremony.

“I am very proud of MSC Divina, the 12th addition to our wonderful fleet and our third Fantasia-class ship. I believe she is the most beautiful ship in our fleet and that her innovations and polished features bring this successful class to perfection. Dedicated to Ms. Sophia Loren, MSC Divina’s stylish refinement represents a new benchmark in cruising. More than that, MSC Divina is the latest expression of our long-term collaboration with STX France,” said MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago. “Each Fantasia-class ship represents 5 million working hours and an average investment of $700 million, over 70 percent of which directly benefits the French economy, in terms of both employment and the procurement of goods and services in support of the ships’ construction. We believe that the success of a country’s economy relies on such investments in its unique industrial traditions.”

STX France's General Manager Laurent Castaing added: "MSC Divina is the 11th ship in just over 10 years that our shipyard has built which is operated by MSC Cruises. Her sistership MSC Preziosa, currently under construction, will become the 12th ship. Throughout our 150-year history never before have so many vessels been built for one ship builder, and this is a record which deserves to be highlighted today. I myself have even had the opportunity to participate in the construction of a good number of these vessels during my previous roles at the Saint-Nazaire shipyard.”

MSC Divina is 1,094 feet long, 124 feet wide, and weighing 139,400 tons, the 3,502-guest (double occupancy; total: 4,345) luxury cruise ship is able to travel up to 23 knots, offering smooth cruising in sumptuous surroundings.