London, UK – 21st March 2018 - MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately owned cruise company and leading cruise line in Europe and South America, revealed today that MSC Bellissima, will be christened in Southampton, UK . The glamorous event that will take place on 2nd March 2019 will be attended by more than 2,000 guests, including VIPs and important British stakeholders. The ship will remain in the city for three days, giving the opportunity for over 3,000 UK & Irish travel partners and guests, to experience the beautiful addition to the MSC Cruises fleet.
Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, commented, “The crowning moment of the launch of any new ship is her Christening, a traditional maritime ceremony that holds great importance for us. For each new ship, MSC Cruises carefully selects a country and a port to host the Christening. We have chosen to host the Christening of MSC Bellissima in Southampton as a demonstration of our continued commitment to growth in the UK and Ireland. This is a truly beautiful ship, worthy of the name Bellissima and this Christening will be a truly beautiful moment for MSC Cruises and the UK .”
MSC Bellissima will become MSC Cruises’ fourth mega-ship to come into service in less than three years since 2017 and as part of a 12 new ship, ten-year €10.5 billion investment program. She will represent a further evolution of the award-winning Meraviglia prototype as her sister-ship, MSC Meraviglia, which came into service in June 2017 was awarded Cruise Critic’s Editors’ Picks “Best New Ship in the UK” in 2017.
Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director MSC Cruises UK & Ireland commented, “MSC Cruises is going from strength to strength in the UK and Ireland, and the fact that such a high profile event is being held here is a signal of the importance of the UK and Ireland to MSC Cruises. This is an opportunity for us to thank our travel agents for helping us expand our distribution and reach new audiences. During the three day Christening celebrations we will have the opportunity to showcase our new and innovative ship whilst the inaugural voyage from Southampton to Genoa will allow our UK guests the opportunity to be the first to sail on this beautiful ship.”
The Company also announced another industry first with the introduction of a digital cruise personal assistant as a new feature of MSC for Me, the Company’s digital innovation programme. This new and ground-breaking guest service, developed in partnership with HARMAN International a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., and leader in connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, will debut on MSC Bellissima, which is currently under construction at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.
Industry-Leading Digital Innovation
The virtual personal assistant for MSC Cruises guests is a conversational, voice-enabled Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation that can communicate, learn and intelligently predict guests’ needs to make relevant suggestions. This new and unique offering will provide guests with tailored information to help simplify and enhance their MSC Cruises holiday experience by providing quick and easy answers to questions from the comfort of their own cabin.
MSC Cruises’ digital innovation programme has been devised in collaboration with more than eleven of the world’s leading digital, tech and behavioural science experts, including Deloitte Digital and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. This latest enhancement to MSC for Me has been developed by MSC Cruises’ dedicated Business Innovation team led by Luca Pronzati, Chief Innovation Officer and HARMAN, experts in the field of voice-enabled technology having developed audio solutions for technology leaders such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft. This new collaboration is as a result of the long-standing relationship between MSC Cruises and Samsung, a true partnership founded on a joint vision to shape the future of the cruise industry through the introduction of the very best connected technologies.
Sanjay Dhawan, President, HARMAN Connected Services and HARMAN CTO, commented, “Digital Assistants and voice recognition technologies are transforming the way we communicate and get our work done today. With this outstanding solution, MSC Cruises will completely transform its guests’ experience on board. Imagine getting instant and personalised information like cruise events, entertainment options, journey updates, or just playing your favourite music by a simple voice command. HARMAN is excited to bring this innovation to MSC Cruises.”
Unlike other home digital assistants that rely on cloud-based programmes with internet-connected devices or applications, this digital offering will be designed around a ship-based solution, customised especially for MSC Cruises’ guests’ needs. The current ways in which guests seek their information on board will be further enhanced, allowing for a uniquely personalised experience. Reflecting MSC Cruises’ truly international onboard offer, guests will be able to communicate with the new digital personal assistant device in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Mandarin. The personal assistant will initially launch on MSC Bellissima, but will be available on all future new ships and plans are in place to introduce the feature on the rest of the fleet.
The unique service is the latest feature of MSC for Me, a multi-channel digital experience that is designed to connect guests to their holiday experience with cutting-edge technology. It includes the MSC for Me App, in-cabin connected television, and the interactive information screens around the ship, amongst other features. MSC for Me was first launched on board MSC Bellissima’s award-winning sister ship, MSC Meraviglia.
Mr Onorato continued, “This is another example of how we are continuously innovating to better serve the needs of our guests, not only for the cruise guests of today but those of the future as we shape the future of the cruise holiday. We employ state-of-the-art technology in a uniquely comprehensive way, building it into every step of the development of our new ships, starting from their conception and design to the final guest experience. It is through our cruise expertise, the skill of our shipyard partners and our unique collaborations with world-leading digital and technology experts such as Samsung and now HARMAN, that we are able to introduce ground-breaking technology to provide our guests with a connected experience that enhances their cruise from beginning to end.”
An enriched onboard experience
Each new MSC Cruises ship is designed to be unique and distinctive and MSC Bellissima is no exception and in addition to the new cruise personal assistant, the ship will offer new features and experiences.
Some of the highlights include:
• Two new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea that can only be seen on board MSC Bellissima. The shows are currently under creative development are the result of a long-term partnership with world-leaders in entertainment, Cirque du Soleil and will see a total of eight original productions created for the four Meraviglia generation ships.
• The theatre will offer newly devised West-End style entertainment every evening and the iconic LED Sky Screen, the longest at sea at an impressive 80 metres long, will delight guests with a series of exciting animations and shows.
• The on board dining has been further enhanced with the introduction of two new dining concepts - L’Atelier Bistrot, with terrace seating so that guests can enjoy the Promenade as well as the modern, street food inspired Market Street, serving a whole array of tempting delights throughout the day and into the evening.
• MSC Cruise’ award-winning family offering will also see some new features including the introduction of a fun Grand Canyon theme for the Aquapark and a host of new magic inspired kids entertainment for kids of all ages. The family deck will include the DOREMI Studio Lounge, a dedicated lounge for all family activities, DOREMI Tech Lab, a must visit destination for kids who love technology, as well as facilities designed in partnership with family experts including the LEGO Group and Chicco.
MSC Bellissima will spend her inaugural season in the ever-popular Western Mediterranean before moving to spend the winter in the United Arab Emirates, calling Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, Muscat and Khasab.
Visit here www.msccruises.co.uk/en-gb/Discover-MSC/Cruise-Ships/MSC-Bellissima to find out more about MSC Bellissima.
About MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises is the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company and the number one cruise line in Europe and South America. A game-changer in the world of cruises, the Company has achieved 800% growth in its first ten years, building a global reputation in the industry and one of the youngest cruise fleets at sea. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland MSC Cruises fleet currently comprises of 14 ultra-modern, highly innovative and elegantly designed ships. Under its ambitious industry-unprecedented €10.5 billion investment plan, the fleet is set to expand to 24 mega-cruise ships by 2026. To date, MSC Cruises has designed six new ship classes, the most recent of these MSC Seaside set sail in December 2017 from Miami.
About HARMAN International
HARMAN International is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets. HARMAN (harman.com) designs and engineers connected products and solutions for automakers, consumers, and enterprises worldwide, including connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solutions; and services supporting the Internet of Things. With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson® and Revel®, HARMAN is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform around the world. More than 50 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and connected car systems. Our software services power billions of mobile devices and systems that are connected, integrated and secure across all platforms, from work and home to car and mobile. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 30,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia. In 2017, HARMAN became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.