How Iconic Actress Sophia Loren, The Ultimate Cruise Ship Godmother, Dazzles History

Splash! The ceremonial breaking of a bubbly bottle against a new vessel’s bow has long been a beloved nautical tradition, wishing good fortune and safe travels for the boat and its passengers. No one is more experienced in the art of star-powered bon voyage than internationally famous, multiple-major-award-winning, Italian actress Sophia Loren, who has christened more ships than any other person ever: 17 floating extravaganzas in the MSC Cruises fleet. Her 18th festive naming show-stopper will occur this December 7 in New York City, when she toasts the new MSC Seascape, which will dock at the Manhattan Cruise Ship Terminal. It will be MSC’s first champagne-showered launch in the Big Apple.

An avid world traveler, glamorous Loren now primarily lives in Geneva, Switzerland — near her dear friends, the Aponte family, who own the immense Mediterranean Shipping Company. She also has had homes in Rome, Naples and on Williams Island in Aventura, Florida. About her ongoing love of our most southeastern state — with its hundreds of miles of sandy beaches — as well as the Caribbean Islands, she recently shared these words with me, exclusively for Forbes: “Florida and the Caribbean provide the perfect place for sailing, sunbathing, swimming and tennis. Those are the activities that have always helped me unwind and take care of myself. More importantly for me, it’s an environment where you can spend quiet time with your family, which has always been my priority. My [late] husband, sons and I considered our options very carefully before deciding to create that special place for ourselves in Florida. That is why I look back so fondly on the peace and tranquility we found there, and why it was so meaningful to return several times over the years to christen ships in the MSC fleet.”

Loren’s passion for our U.S. coastlines reflects the interest of MSC Cruises, the largest privately owned global cruise line, a sea-faring vacation innovator for more than 30 years. Its mega-ship fleet has grown enormously. In early 2017, MSC operated 12 cruise ships; at the end of this year, it will have 21. It steers ships from Florida’s Port Canaveral and Miami to the Caribbean year-round. After Seascape’s December event in New York, it will transition to Miami to embark guests for itineraries in the Caribbean and the Bahamas in December 2022. Here are 17 options.

Although MSC Cruises’ increasing North American presence is concentrated in Florida, New York City will also see a lively burst of maritime maneuvers, as MSC Meraviglia will welcome passengers at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal for voyages to ports in New England and Canada on 10-night itineraries during September 2023.

MSC Cruises lavishes a European flourish across its ships’ decor, design, cuisine and culture. Its Mediterranean-focused ambience and spirit are distinctive. Most officers and many crew are from Italy.

For the new Seascape, a fresh muse has been embraced. New York City is spotlit as Seascape’s inspiration. For example, names of public areas and venues are given a city-that-never-sleeps vibe, such as the expanded retail and entertainment hub that is dubbed Times Square. A 9.8-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty towers in the casino. A gigantic LED wall that spans four cruise decks projects changing images of the renowned skyline.

More Florida and Caribbean news continues: MSC Divina will sail from Miami to the Bahamas and Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve (the company’s private island) through May 2023. MSC Seashore is currently sailing from Miami and will homeport in Port Canaveral in November 2023. (In the meantime, Seashore will be in the Mediterranean during winter 2022/2023 and summer 2023.) On a further horizon, MSC Magnifica will commence short cruises to the Bahamas and Key West out of Miami, beginning November 2023. That’s a lot of wave-happy movement for MSC-booking North American travelers.

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