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NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW 4


MSC to host 2,500 agents at Bellissima event


Amie Keeley amie.keeley@travelweekly.co.uk


MSC Cruises’ new ship MSC Bellissima will host 2,500 agents when it is christened in the UK next spring.


The ship will dock in Southampton for three days on March 1-3, with the naming ceremony taking place on March 2. More than 3,000 guests are


expected to visit the ship over the three days, more than 80% of whom will be agents. Dedicated trade events will take place on board on March 1 and 3.


MSC last christened a ship in the UK with the launch of MSC Poesia in Dover in 2008. With capacity for 4,500 passengers and weighing 171,600 tons, Bellissima will be the largest ship to be christened in the UK. Film star Sophia Loren has


traditionally been the godmother for all MSC ships but UK managing


director Antonio Paradiso said Bellissima’s godmother had yet to be confirmed, adding that the line was looking for UK celebrities to perform at the ceremony. The ship’s inaugural sailing from Southampton to Genoa will depart on March 4 on a seven-night


western Mediterranean itinerary. Bellissima, which will be a


sister ship to MSC Meraviglia which launched last year, will operate seven-night western Mediterranean itineraries next summer before moving to Dubai for winter 2019-20. Paradiso said MSC’s decision


to hold the christening in Southampton showed the line’s commitment to the UK market. “We carefully select where to hold our christenings and choose


5 STORIES HOT


Cirque du Soleil will


perform two new shows


on Bellissima


locations which are key to our growth. We see an opportunity to grow our UK business massively. “The UK has gone from strength to strength so the christening is


the icing on the cake.” Bellissima will feature two new


shows from Cirque du Soleil, a new French bistro dining concept, and boutiques selling British brands such as handbag designer Radley and luxury biscuit manufacturer


Cartwright & Butler. › Special Report, page 12


5


New Marella Cruises ship Marella Explorer 2 will be adult-only when it launches in May 2019 as the rest of the fleet becomes all-inclusive.


sailing as SkySea Golden Era for SkySea Cruise Line in China, will


undergo an extensive renovation. Marella Explorer 2 will be the first ship to be exclusively for


New Marella ship to be adult-only 40%


Harry Kemble harry.kemble@travelweekly.co.uk


adults in Marella’s fleet. The Tui- owned line said the decision was prompted by the popularity of its adult-only sailings from Dubrovnik and Asia for winter 2018. The ship will be based in Naples and will operate four new


European itineraries. Marella Explorer 2 will feature new


The 1,814-capacity ship, currently


cabin types, including the 1,100sq ft Royal Suite which will have a separate bedroom, dressing room, dining area and whirlpool bath. Forty per cent of the 907 cabins will have balconies.


6 travelweekly.co.uk 22 March 2018


Cabins with balconies on Marella Explorer 2


Sunbathing area The Veranda will


be twice the size of that featured on sister ship Marella Explorer, due to enter service in May. From May next year, Marella


Cruises will offer all-inclusive as standard across its fleet,


already offer all-inclusive as standard, while Spirit will leave the fleet in October.


including transfers and tips. The decision comes following a


“steady increase” of all-inclusive upgrades over the past three years and is hoped to appeal to new-to- cruise and younger customers. There are currently five ships in


the fleet: Marella Dream, Marella Celebration, Marella Discovery, Marella Discovery 2 and Marella Spirit. Discovery and Discovery 2


PICTURE: IVAN SARFATTI


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