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MSC Cruises’ newest ‘Diva’, MSC Divina was officially christened in Marseille, France on Saturday by godmother and muse, Sophia Loren.

The christening of MSC Cruises’ 12th vessel was streamed live online with star of stage and screen, Gerard Depardieu narrating the event and online presenters hosting the internet event in both French and English.

“The MSC Divina christening is a declaration of love for the sea, for the Mediterranean culture and for good food,” Mr Depardieu said.

In the MSC Cruises tradition of christening their ships in different European ports, the cruise line paid homage to Marseille and its history.

“We could not have found a better choice than Marseille, where the majority of our French guests embark all year round and where MSC ships will call 80 times in 2012, bringing over 280,000 international guests to the region,” MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago said.

Mr Vago went on to highlight the investment that the company has made in the local cruise terminal and shared his belief that the christening was the ideal way to showcase the “comfort and modernity of a state-of-the-art terminal, a fitting gateway to the unforgettable onboard experience they (guests) will discover.”

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and classical music performer, Maxim Vengerov, was also in attendance, highlighting the joint UNICEF and MSC Cruises’ ‘Get on Board for Children’ initiative, which has raised more than USD$1.3 million to date for education equality programs for disadvantaged children in Brazil.

An eclectic array of entertainment was on offer at the christening gala which was opened by the Captens Aerobatic Display Team and the Breitling Jet Team.

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Words: Natalie Aroyan