Throwback: MSC Melody, the little big flagship

In the 70s, the cruise industry suffered the oil crisis and the consequent rapid inflation of the operating costs. But the end of the decade saw a great recovery in the sector with a record number of new ships on order, it is in these times that the Home Lines Company decided to replace the old Doric with a new building.

The new ship was ordered to the French Chantiers du Nord et de le Mediterranee for a total cost of 110 million dollars. Construction began in in December 1979 and the ship was launched in February 1981 and christened in April 1982 under the name Atlantic. The Atlantic was designed for weekly cruises between New York and Bermuda in the summer, and itineraries in the Caribbean in winter. However, increasing competition and the cost for the construction of a new ship, the Homeric, forced the Home Lines out of business in 1988. The Altlantic were subsequently acquired by Holland America and chartered by Premier Cruise Line under the name Starship Atlantic.

Premier sent the ship in Bremerhaven yards for a major refit which increased the capacity for a total of 1652 passengers against the initial 1278. Public rooms also suffered a deep redesign by the renowned designer greek A&M Katzourakis. From the yard came out a beautiful ship suitable for families with a beautiful red painting hull thanks to which to the ship was given the nickname “The Big Red Boat”. For nine years the great red ship traveled the same routes 3 and 4 days between Florida and the Bahamas as a ship of fi cial of Walt Disney. But when the contract with Disney was not renewed, Premier Cruise Line decided to withdraw the ship from service.

So in January 1997 the ship was acquired by the newly established Mediterranean Shipping Cruises for the modest price of 70 million dollars which reflects the excellent condition of the vessel at the time of sale and renamed Melody. The Melody soon became one of the most popular ships of the fleet MSC thanks to its retro charm.

In 2009, Melody became known for the incident that occurred on April 26 when, during the night, MSC Melody was attacked by a group of Somali pirates off the Seychelles, during a positioning cruise from South Africa to Italy. Thanks to the prompt intervention of the security board and the Captain Ciro Pinto, the attack was foiled and the Melody continued its navigation, escorted by the Spanish Navy ship Marques de la Ensenada.

After years of honorable service it has been officially sold in 2013 with the entry into service of the new flagship MSC Preziosa.

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