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MSC Splendida Begins Maiden Voyage

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Paul Motter, editor of CruiseMates, is aboard the beautiful MSC Splendida, which has just begun its first full passenger cruise after emerging from the berth where it was built at the STX Shipyard in St Nazaire, France.

The beautiful new 133,000-ton ship conducted the handover ceremony on July 4, where the ship’s flags where transferred from registry in France and ownership by STX to the flag of Italian cruise line MSC Cruises (ship registration Panama). After the handover ceremony there was a champagne toast and the breaking of a magnum of French Champagne against the bow of the ship. Later in the day about 1000 French passengers joined the ship for the first time. An escort out of the bay of St. Nazaire by hundreds of locals, many of whom had worked on the vessel’s construction, was capped by fireboats shooting plumes of seawater into the air.

In Vigo, Spain, 2000 Spanish passengers are joining the ship to sail onwards to Barcelona for the official naming ceremony. Sophia Loren will preside as godmother over the ceremony. On the way Splendida will stop in Lisbon (Portugal), and Mallorca and Malaga (Spain).

Follow this link for pictures and video of the MSC Splendida naming ceremony and the inaugural sailing procession.

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