A star-studded naming for MSC Seaside at PortMiami

From upper left, clockwise: MSC Seaside after the Champagne smash, Ricky Martin gets everyone dancing, Pierfrancesco Vago and Andrea Bocelli, Capt. Pier Paolo Scala with godmother Sophia Loren From upper left, clockwise: MSC Seaside after the Champagne smash, Ricky Martin gets everyone dancing, Pierfrancesco Vago and Andrea Bocelli, Capt. Pier Paolo Scala with godmother Sophia Loren (Photos: Anne Kalosh)

MSC Cruises may be new to the party in Miami but Thursday's spectacular naming of MSC Seaside gave the city a night to remember.

And now, with this second ship based at PortMiami and a third—MSC Meraviglia—on the way in 2019, the MSC name will become known stateside for much more than containers.

'At last we are in Miami ... with a ship to make heads turn,' MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfranesco Vago told the crowd.

With MSC Seaside nose to nose with the container ship MSC Ams, the dockside festivities packed one emotional punch after another.

A tear-wrenching 'Ave Maria' by Andrea Bocelli and the Voices of Haiti children's choir.

Superstar Ricky Martin bringing down the house with multiple encores and getting everyone, including MSC Group's Alexa Aponte-Vago, shaking their bon-bon.

Legendary quarterback Dan Marino presenting a Miami Dolphins helmet to MSC Cruises USA president Roberto Fusaro and getting photo-bombed by television star Mario Lopez.

Diva Sophia Loren snipping the cord that sent the Champagne smashing on the bow—the incredible 13th time she's done so as the godmother for an MSC ship.

'We're starting today a new chapter for MSC Cruises in the US market,' CEO Gianni Onorato said. 'It is becoming a top priority for us to be in this market, and to be an important player in this market. Our investment will continue to grow around the world, but especially here in Miami.'

Allen Clifford, US EVP of MSC's container business, and Rick Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA, paired off in what amounted to a comedy routine, trading quips. But they turned serious when extolling the virtues of working for a family-run company.

'When I look at [MSC Seaside], I don't see steel. I see the heart and soul of a company,' Sasso said.

At the festivities—where celebrity chef Ray Yamaguchi, one of MSC Cruises' partners, was also on hand—the company announced another culinary tie. Joe Bastianich, the award-winning restaurateur and TV personality, will be creating a signature dish for MSC Seaside's Elegant Night menu in a partnership that's likely to expand.

And, highlighting its desire to be a good corporate citizen in North America, MSC Cruises announced it will partner with the Andrea Bocelli Foundation to support its community work in Haiti.

Posted 21 December 2017

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review