MSC Seaside – “the Ship that Follows the Sun” – Christened in Miami
Cruise News – Dec. 21, 2017
The master of ceremonies was actor and TV host Mario Lopez, who led the pier-side evening event that featured MSC executives and Miami officials including Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman, MSC Cruises; Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises; Roberto Fusaro, president, MSC Cruises USA; Rick Sasso, chairman, MSC Cruises USA; Allen Clifford, executive vice-president MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, USA; and Carlos A. Gimenez, mayor of Miami-Dade County.
“MSC Seaside’s naming embodies a pivotal moment for MSC Cruises and the industry overall. She is the first ship of the fifth new prototype that we have developed since we entered this industry only in 2003, and she introduces a wholly innovative concept that has already set a new standard for the industry to follow,” said Vago. “The distinctive and unique Seaside Class is designed to bring guests closer to the sea to enjoy cruising in warm weather, while pushing the boundaries of maritime and guest-centric technology – the way only a cruise line with over 300 years of maritime tradition could have done.”
During the naming ceremony, the audience was treated to a variety of performances and appearances including by world-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli, who sang with the Voices of Haiti choir of 60 Haitian children. During the ceremony, MSC Cruises announced a new charitable partnership with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, which works in Haiti to establish schools, help the community, and improve health care.
As part of the new partnership, every dollar donated on board by a guest will go directly to the Foundation to make a real difference, establishing schools that become community centers and launching projects such as the Mobile Clinic, providing health care assistance and prevention, clean water, lighting and agricultural development, transforming the lives of their communities.
“The sea is a place of freedom; it is the guardian of fascinating wonders, of answers that help us grow,” said Bocelli. “Being an artist means being an explorer. It is therefore a particularly joyful opportunity for me to bring on board my singing and most importantly the voices, joy and enthusiasm of the children’s choir the Voices of Haiti. This choir is the result of one of the educational projects carried out, in Haiti and beyond, by the Foundation bearing my name.”
During the ceremony, Bocelli and the choir performed several moving songs including “Amazing Grace” as well as his ever-popular “Time to Say Goodbye” during the parade of MSC officers.
Also during the ceremony was a testament to the line’s commitment to South Florida, as Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino spoke about the announcement of MSC Cruises as the official cruise line of the NFL football team.
“The Miami Dolphins are glad to be partners with MSC and are excited about it,” Marino said, “and hopefully we’ll continue to build that over the years.” Marino added that there will be upcoming cruises with Miami Dolphins players and alumni. He also presented a signed football helmet to Fusaro to be displayed on board as a symbol of the partnership.
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Things then heated up when Grammy- and Latin Grammy-award winner Ricky Martin took to the stage to perform several of his popular hits including “Livin la Vida Loca” and “Drop It On Me.” With Martin’s high-energy rhythm, passion for performing, and compassion for giving, the line said that he “truly encompasses the international spirit of MSC Cruises and the city of Miami.”
The ceremony concluded with the official ribbon-cutting by godmother Sophia Loren (who has served as godmother for every MSC Cruises ship since MSC Lirica in 2003) along with the ship’s captain, Pier Paolo Scala.
“Let’s welcome with big emotion, this other jewel of MSC,” said Loren. “Wishing prosperity and serenity to all future passengers of every nation. May they live moments of serenity and veritable joy aboard this wonderful ship.”
Following the bottle breaking against the hull were fireworks over the ship, welcoming and celebrating the newest ship in the line’s fleet. The 5,119-passenger MSC Seaside will now begin her first season of 7-night cruises to the Caribbean.
Photos: Mike Louagie/MSC Cruises, MSC Cruises (x2), Ivan Sarfatti/MSC Cruises (x2)