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MSC begins seasonal cruises from Hamburg with one of its largest ships

MSC Cruises
At MSC Splendida maiden call - From left, MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, Hamburg Sen. Frank Horch and Michael Zengerle, managing director, MSC Kreuzfahrten
MSC Splendida made its maiden call to Hamburg on Friday as the first of MSC Cruises' Fantasia-class ships to be based at the north German port.

The 137,936gt ship will sail from Hamburg for a season of 13 cruises around northern Europe, including the British Isles, the Norwegian Fjords and Iceland.

MSC Splendida’s arrival in Hamburg was marked by a ceremonial crest exchange between Capt. Giuseppe Maresca and Hamburg harbormaster Jörg Pollman, with MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, Hamburg Sen. Frank Horch, MSC Kreuzfahrten managing director Michael Zengerle and a large international media contingent in attendance.

Football legend Franz Beckenbauer was there, too.

'Our decision to bring MSC Splendida here is rooted in a concrete commitment to this world-class destination,' Vago said, adding that homeporting one of the company's biggest and finest ships in Hamburg is 'a natural progression,' following years of increasing investment in the city.

MSC Cruises has already carried around 350,000 passengers through Hamburg, and MSC Splendida's sailings will add more than 100,000.

The line's commitment began in 2010 when MSC Magnifica was christened in Hamburg.

In addition, MSC Cruises this month will base MSC Orchestra in Kiel and MSC Sinfonia in Warnemünde, enabling thousands of German and international travelers to visit the Baltic capitals and the Norwegian coast. Besides week-long-cruises, MSC Orchestra and MSC Sinfonia will offer northern European 'Grand Tours' that combine two back-to-back sailings for a 14-night voyage.