Today at STX France, MSC Cruises officially took delivery of MSC Meraviglia.
During the ship’s flag ceremony, the ship received her official flag and blessings for good fortune. The ceremony was attended by Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic and other high-level dignitaries from the French government.
MSC Cruises said it estimates that its total investment at STX France from 2003 to 2020 will amount to over 7 billion euros, effectively making the company the country’s number one foreign private investor.
Following her christening ceremony, which will take place in Le Havre on June 3, MSC Meraviglia will start her inaugural season sailing the Western Mediterranean.
“MSC Meraviglia’s coming into service marks a key milestone in the history and future of our Company,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises. “She represents the first realization of our long-term vision for further significant growth, which, in its first phase, culminated with MSC Cruises becoming two years ago the number one cruise brand across all of Europe, while on its way to further global growth.”
“Above all, we must celebrate the work of everyone: from all the workers of our partner STX France to MSC Cruises’ New Builds Team, each and every supplier and sub-supplier who has contributed to turning our vision into reality as well as everyone at MSC who has worked ashore and on board on this amazing project. A galvanized team of up to 3,000 workers a month and over 400 suppliers, built over the past three years the largest and most technologically advanced cruise ship ever constructed by a European ship owner. This is worth celebrating!” added Vago.
“Delivering a ship is always a time of great emotion for the shipyard: it is the culmination of three years of intense work for our employees and those of our partners, who have spared no effort to deliver on the exact date and in the quality conditions desired by our client MSC Cruises, this first ship of the Meraviglia class,” said Laurent Castaing, CEO of STX France. “Benefiting from our advances in R&D from the "Ship of the Future" program supported by ADEME, this prototype is a great achievement that we can all be proud of and which allows us to look confidently at the next three ships.”
During today’s flag ceremony, the shipyard’s pennant and the French flag were lowered, accompanied by the French national anthem, before Laurent Castaing, CEO of STX France, formally handed the ship over to MSC Cruises’ owner Gianluigi Aponte.
Aponte then gave command of MSC Meraviglia to Master Raffaele Pontecorvo before the ship’s flag and MSC Cruises’ pennant were raised.
The honor of cutting the ribbon fell to the ceremony’s godmother, Zoe Africa Vago, daughter of MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman and Alexa Aponte-Vago, MSC Group’s CFO. After the traditional breaking of the bottle of champagne, three blasts from the ship’s siren signaled the end of the ceremony.