( dpa ) - Sea cruise lovers now have another ship at their service. In early April, Italian operator MSC Cruises christened MSC Poesia, the ninth vessel in its fleet, in the southern English port of Dover.
Representatives of the cruise line said in Munich it was the first time outside Italy that a magnum of champagne had been smashed against the hull of one of its ships. The MSC Poesia's "godmother" is actress Sophia Loren.
A total of 294 metres in length, MSC Poesia is a sister ship of MSC Musica and MSC Orchestra, which were launched in 2006 and 2007, respectively. It has 1,275 cabins, 80 per cent of them outside and 65 per cent of which have a private balcony.
The vessel accommodates a maximum of 3,013 passengers, and 2,550 in double occupancy. Amenities include four restaurants and a 1,500- square-metre spa.
MSC Poesia's maiden voyage took it from Dover to Venice, its home port this summer. From there it will set out on one-week trips to eastern Mediterranean destinations including Istanbul and Dubrovnik.
The ship is the third in MSC Cruise's so-called Musica class. A fourth, MSC Magnifica, is to join them in 2010. The cruise line plans to launch three more ship in all in the near future. The next one, MSC Fantasia, is scheduled to be christened on December 19 in Naples.
Stretching 333 metres and accommodating 3,971 passengers, MSC Fantasia will be the largest vessel ever built for an Italian shipowner.