MSC...you float my boat...said Jacinta
30th August 2017 - 4:30pm
Jacinta Mc Glynn (Senior Reporter Travelbiz) attended the launch of Seaview, the newest cruise ship in the MSC fleet, and witnessed the fantastic float-out ceremony in Italy. “Flying into Venice Treviso airport, I made valiant efforts to spot a glistening canal or gorgeous gondola below, but alas, thwarted again! Onwards to Trieste which is a lovely laid-back town in northern Italy, well known to Joycean fans as the writer lived here for many years with his wife Nora Barnacle and their children. Trieste has a Joyce museum and even named a street for the author. Irish connections aside, Trieste is architecturally beautiful with many vestiges of the Austro-Hungarian Empire visible in the piazzas and glorious public buildings,” said Jacinta.
Natalie Billington (PR Manager MCS Cruises) and Antonio Paradiso (Managing Director UK & Ireland MSC Cruises) offer superb hospitality and we enjoy outstanding Italian cuisine in Chimera di Barro, then continue to a local bar for vino and limoncello – as you do. When in Rome..... (Well, at least it was Italy!). We drive to the shipyard village of Monfalcone about 30 minutes away and board MSC Seaside, the 2nd ship in MSC’s armoury. Still in construction phase, our guide was Francesco Masat, the shipyard supervisor, who regaled us with an incredible array of facts: MSC Seaside presently has an ‘army’ of 5.000 workers every day; finish date in November as the ship will come into service in December 2017 with her grand voyage to Miami USA; the staircases will be encrusted with Swarovski crystals; marble will be plentiful throughout; restaurants, bars, luxurious cabins, pools, kiddies water park, casino, disco, 960 seater theatre, bowling alleys, 4D cinema and Formula 1 simulator all present; 25 decks and a capacity of 5.179 passengers. The vessel is simply mind boggling and an absolute triumph in nautical engineering. One of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world, Fincantieri is responsible for this feat of maritime marvel. Unlike European superstitions where No 13 is taboo, MSC Seaside has no Deck 17 as number 17 is considered unlucky in Italy in mariner’s lore.
Then moments of drama unfold as we head to sister ship, MSC Seaview for the launch and float-out ceremony. Pierfrancesco Vago (MSC Executive Chairman) is eloquent in speech and comments that MSC Seaview is part of a 10 year expansion plan and embodies a vision inspired by passion for the sea. Gianni Onarato (CEO MSC) speaks fervently of the deep appreciation for efforts made by the workers and expert skill of the engineers whilst Debora Serracchiani (President Friuli-Venezia-Giulia Region) smashes the Champagne to launch the vessel. Meanwhile, MSC Seaview receives a blessing from the ship’s Chaplain and Giusseppe Bono (CEO Fincantieri) offers a very moving and traditional blessing from the shipyard – Fair Winds.
Lying in dry dock, the huge propeller and ship’s hulk loom far below as we all stretch over the barriers to witness the opening of the enormous valves and the actual float-out. It was all very dramatic and really quite emotional as the valves opened and tons of water gushed and flowed and slowly licked the bottom of the ship. The faces of the engineers showed it all – relief, delight, admiration and the joy of a job well done. I have seen first-hand the extraordinary work on board and on the ground. Congratulations MSC and Fincantieri. Doubtless, MSC Seaview will be one of a kind, truly, a ship to follow the sun. MSC Seaside will not be far behind. Fair Winds to both and all who sail in them. MSC can really float the boats.
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