Holland America Line’s Simon Douwes discusses the importance of balancing port visits with time at sea
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Author: Elizabeth Robinson/Thursday, March 22, 2018/Categories: News, Building and refurbishment
MSC Cruises’ newest ship, MSC Bellissima, will be christened in Southampton, UK on 2 March 2019.
MSC Bellissima’s christening event will be attended by more than 2,000 guests, including British dignitaries and stakeholders. The ship will remain in Southampton for three days following her naming ceremony, giving more than 3,000 UK and Irish travel agents and invited guests the chance to explore her interiors and onboard amenities.
“The crowning moment of the launch of any new ship is her christening, a traditional maritime ceremony that holds great importance for us,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. “For each new ship, MSC Cruises carefully selects a country and a port to host the christening. We have chosen to host the christening of MSC Bellissima in Southampton as a demonstration of our continued commitment to growth in the UK and Ireland. This is a truly beautiful ship, worthy of the name Bellissima and this christening will be a truly beautiful moment for MSC Cruises and the UK.”
To be built as part of MSC Cruises’ €10.5 billion investment programme that will see 12 ships come into service over the next 10 years, MSC Bellissima is one of four new Meraviglia Class vessels. The first, MSC Meraviglia, came into service in June 2017.
MSC Bellissima will offer the cruise industry’s first voice-enabled digital personal assistant, which was co-developed with Samsung subsidiary Harman International. Part of the MSC for Me programme, the virtual assistant is powered by artificial intelligence and can communicate with guests in seven languages. It can provide answers to queries and will also learn guests’ preferences and behaviours to predict their needs and make relevant suggestions.
Following its launch on MSC Bellissima, the personal assistant will be available on all future new ships and it will be introduced across the existing fleet.
“Digital assistants and voice recognition technologies are transforming the way we communicate and get our work done today,” said Sanjay Dhawan, president of Harman Connected Services and CTO of Harman. “With this outstanding solution, MSC Cruises will completely transform its guests’ experience onboard. Imagine getting instant and personalised information like cruise events, entertainment options, journey updates, or just playing your favourite music by a simple voice command. Harman is excited to bring this innovation to MSC Cruises.”
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