(5 p.m. EDT) -- MSC Cruises christened new ship MSC Seaview Saturday in Genoa, Italy, with a successful ribbon cutting and Champagne bottle smash, conducted by returning godmother Sophia Loren (pictured).
The festivities kicked off with a morning blessing by a local cardinal and continued throughout the day, with cocktails just prior to the official christening, which was led by TV personality Michelle Hunziker as master of ceremonies.
Also in attendance were MSC Group founder, chairman and ship owner Gianluigi Aponte, as well as MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfranceso Vago and other executives.
Other special guests included actress and singer Lorella Cuccarini, Italian blues musician Zucchero Fornaciari, chefs Ramon Freixa and Roy Yamaguchi, Spanish model and actor Jon Kortajarena, Brazlian presenter and actor Giovanna Ewbank and French television personality Ariane Brodier.
In addition to a performance by Matteo Bocelli -- son of singer Andrea Bocelli, who sang at the christening of MSC Seaside last year -- during the officer's parade, children's choir Piccolo Coro Dell'Antoniano also sang.
Another MSC ship, Divina, left at the same time as the christening was taking place and sounded its horn a few times and flashed its deck lights as it pulled away.
A gala dinner followed, and the night was capped off with a sky full of sparkling celebratory fireworks.
The second vessel in MSC's new Seaside Class, Seaview offers a large ratio of outdoor to indoor space, as well as dual ziplines and bowling lanes; a 4D cinema and Formula-One simulator; five waterslides; 10 restaurants, including the first at-sea eatery for Michelin-Starred chef Ramon Freixa as well as the popular Asian Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi; 20 bars and lounges; and seven new production shows.
MSC plans to launch a dozen new ships over a nine-year span in an effort to double the size of its fleet.
Upcoming ships include MSC Bellissima, MSC Grandiosa and Meraviglia-Plus-Class II, a currently unnamed sister ship to Grandiosa.
Later this week, MSC will hold a triple ceremony at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, to mark the float-out of Bellissima, the coin ceremony for Grandiosa and the steel cutting for Meraviglia-Plus-Class II.
--By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor