MSC CRUISES TO LAUNCH “GODDESS” DIVINA

A defining feature of MSC Divina is the redesign of the Infinty/Garden

The latest addition to the MSC Cruises ever-expanding fleet – MSC Divina – will boast a mythological Greek influence when it is launched in France in May, 2012.

Thirteen of the new luxury ship's 18 decks will be named after the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece, among them Aphrodite, the Olympian goddess of love, and Apollo, the Olympian god of music.

Zeus, the king of gods and ruler of Mt Olympus, will also have a deck named after him along with Uranus, god of the heavens.

Furthermore, MSC Divina's expansive 1603-seat theatre will be named the Pantheon, a Greek word aptly meaning "to honour all gods".

"We are truly looking forward to the much-anticipated launch and naming of the MSC Divina, the 12th valued member of our fleet," said Lynne Clarke, managing director of MSC Cruises Australia and New Zealand.

"Every new ship MSC builds is exciting and with our 12th build it will take us to new heights," she said. "We are thrilled to offer another superb class of ship for sale to the Australian New Zealand market. The fact that MSC Divina will be cruising the beautiful East Mediterranean is a bonus as capacity has always been at a premium to this part of the Mediterranean."   

After its maiden six-night Mediterranean May 27 cruise from Marseille to Venice, the MSC Divina will take on a series of seven-night Eastern Mediterranean round cruises from Venice to Italy's Bari, Greece's Katakolon, Turkey's Izmir and Istanbul and Croatia's Dubrovnik, such cruises priced from $939 per person twin share.

Despite its ancient Greek influences, MSC Divina is very much a contemporary addition to the cruise line's fleet. However, finding a suitable name wasn't as straight forward.

Originally named Fantastica, the family-owned Italian company looked to the cruise line's famous godmother, glamorous screen legend Sophia Loren, a family friend of MSC president Gianluigi Aponte, before deciding on a change.

"In an evening chat with our president, Sophia said it was her dream to have a ship named after her," said Mrs Clarke. "He immediately suggested 'Divina' in place of 'Fantastica', adding that a 'fantastic experience is fleeting, whereas a divine experience gives you memories that will last forever'. A new name was born," she revealed.

MSC Divina will be the centre of attention in the French port of Marseille on Saturday, May 26, when Ms Loren makes a special appearance at the gala event to "christen" the ship with the traditional smashing across the bow of a bottle of champagne.

Measuring the length of more than three football fields, MSC Divina will be the third member in MSC Cruises' Fantasia class, joining MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia, also christened by the famous Italian actor.

A defining feature of MSC Divina is the redesign of the Infinty/Garden at 7.35 metres wide and 7.60 metres in length, the infinity edge pool will allow clients to experience a spectacular view of the sea from the ship's stern.

The multi-million dollar newcomer will also have more cabins and suites (1751) than its predecessors (1637) and will herald a state-of-the-art concept in design and unprecedented comfort with as many as 1125 cabins offering balconies, while of the 97 suites, 69 will be dedicated to MSC Yacht Club over decks 12, 15 and 16.

MSC Divina's Yacht Club – the "ship within a ship" for passengers seeking to be pampered in elegant surrounds – is renowned for its priority check-in and butler service. Along with the designer suites, it will have an exclusive restaurant with free seating for guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments in the restaurant as well as in your mini bars.

A sun deck with exclusive pool, whirlpool baths and solarium, a Top Sail Lounge (open all day) and private lift to the lavish MSC Aurea (day) Spa which will accommodate 48 guests are also a part of the exclusive area of the ship.

"In more ways than one, our latest addition to MSC Cruises will live up to its name," said Mrs Clarke.

MSC Cruises is the world's leading cruise company in the Mediterranean, South African and Brazilian markets and operates across the globe. Its modern fleet comprises eleven ships: MSC Splendida and MSC Fantasia (the largest ships ever built for a European ship owner), MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera, MSC Lirica and MSC Melody. MSC Magnifica, the newest ship, was launched in March 2010. The fleet cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, North America and Canada, South America, the Indian Ocean and South and West Africa. MSC Cruises is the only company in the world to receive the "6 Golden Pearls" award from the Bureau Veritas in recognition of its high level of quality management and environmental responsibility. MSC has also achieved ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certification for the quality and food safety of all aspects of its catering, both onshore and onboard. MSC Cruises cares about the welfare of children, and as a responsible market leader believes in making a positive impact in the regions where it operates. To this end, the company recently formed a partnership with UNICEF to fund a community project aimed at providing disadvantaged children in Brazil with a quality education.

Details: MSC Cruises, phone 1300 028502, www.msccruises.com.au

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