The largest cruise ship ever to be christened in the UK docked in Southampton today.
The MSC Bellissima, which cost £1billion to construct and can carry a total of 4,500 passengers, sailed in from Saint Nazaire where it was built and it will be christened at an official ceremony tomorrow evening, with Sophia Loren doing the honours.
Images reveal what the state-of-the-art ship looks like inside, with plush suites and ritzy restaurants. To top it off, there’s a large waterpark on the roof.
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The MSC Bellissima, which is the largest cruise ship to be christened in the UK, arrives at Southampton ready for its naming ceremony tomorrow
One of the yacht club deluxe suites on board the £1billion ship. This suite has been especially designed for guests with disabilities or reduced mobility
The atmosphere pool on the ship’s main deck. It is described as having beautiful lighting, a giant screen and atmospheric design to make the main pool area even more alluring after dark
For young cruise passengers, they can play until their heart is content in the Junior Lego Club on board the ship
In total, there are 12 different restaurants on board the Bellissima, serving everything from sushi to steaks, and 20 bars. To make Brits feel at home, there is a classic pub or if it’s a glass of bubbles passengers are after, there’s a dedicated champagne bar, complete with 20 varieties.
Another highlight on the huge liner is a custom-build performance stage. MSC splashed £20 million on the attraction as part of its on-going collaboration with Cirque du Soleil. The specialised theatre, with a circular stage and more intimate seating arrangement, allows acrobats to perform jaw-dropping stunts while at sea.
Along with Cirque du Soleil shows, other entertainment offerings include a theatre showing Broadway-style shows and a two-deck inside promenade with a spectacular 262-foot-long LED dome projecting different light displays including the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
To get travellers in the party spirit, there are 11 different areas to dance, nightly karaoke sessions and the bars stay open until 2am.
Passengers on board the MSC Bellissima will also be able to experience what it is like to drive at top speeds in an F1 simulator
For passengers wanting lighter bites, they can dine at HOLA! Tapas Bar from Michelin-starred chef Ramon Freixa
There are slides and other attractions aplenty on board MSC Bellisima’s water park, called the Arizona Aquapark, pictured
Other onboard amenities include a spa, gym, bowling alley and two pool areas with a water park.
In total, the MSC Bellissima features 19 decks with accommodation ranging from basic cabins to ‘royal suites’.
To enhance the onboard experience, the cruise company has decked all of the cabins out with in-room concierge systems which react to voice command.
The ship will depart on her maiden voyage on March 24 taking passengers on a seven-night Mediterranean trip leaving from Genoa, Italy.
She will continue to spend her inaugural season in the western Mediterranean before moving to spend the winter in the United Arab Emirates, calling Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, Muscat and Khasab.
More than 2,000 guests will attend the christening ceremony on Saturday, including VIPs and important British stakeholders.
The stunning Carousel Lounge with its bright interiors and quirky colour scheme is where passengers can relax with a drink
Some of the cabins on board have balconies where passengers can gaze out on to the ocean while sailing
Passengers can dine in one of the many on board restaurants including this one called, Butcher’s Cut
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.
Naval fans stood next to the City Cruise Terminal in Southampton on Friday to catch a glimpse of the huge cruise liner
‘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 as part of the company’s ten-year €10.5 billion investment program.
Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director MSC Cruises UK & Ireland commented: ‘MSC Cruises is going from strength to strength in the UK and Ireland.’