Throwback: MSC Fantasia, from project to christening
July 12, 2019

Fantasy is the energy that moves the Universe. The greatest masterpieces of Art, Architecture and Engineering were born from Fantasy, as well as beautiful paintings, thoughtful rhymes, inventive bridges, daring ships. It’s Fantasy that enhances, touches and cheers the most remarkable men of history: Homer and his verses, Leonardo and his creations, Columbus and his courage, Caravaggio and his colours, Mozart and his music.

Extraordinary men shared the same purpose throughout the centuries. They let Fantasy guide them in order to create rhymes no living being had ever read; to give mankind new tools and objects and pursue knowledge, so it could aspire to a better life. Fantasy is what makes humans reach places no one has ever set foot on, paint unknown pictures and play music that didn’t exist before that exact moment. That same Fantasy which crossed eras and changed everyone’s lives.

MSC Fantasia, Genius and Masterpiece

Editoriale Giorgio Mondadori

1st of June, 2005

Almost 15 years ago MSC was ready for the big move. After the orders of Musica Class ships, larger than the previous Opera and Lirica, first cruise ships to be build for the cruise line, the owner Gianluigi Aponte took the decision to go further. On the 1st of June he signed with Aker Yard shipyard of Saint-Nazaire, France, an agreement for the construction of a new company’s flagship that would become known as MSC Fantasia.

After the signature the next step concerns making something special for the new flagship. In order to do this MSC chooses De Jorio Studio International for the interior design.

September 9th, 2006

In Saint-Nazaire it all begins with the first steel cutting ceremony, the MSC Fantasia construction kick-off. A piece of steel is cutted by a laser with surgical precision, the first of many others, thousands of other that will create the assembly blocks. A modern cruise ship is like a giant puzzle, many custom sections created to fit together in the construction dock.

At the moment, Fantasia is not Fantasia yet, for all in the shipyard she is Hull A33.


MSC Fantasia is comprised of 67 blocks, some of them exceeding 600 tons in weight, and those are comprised of approximately 600 sub-blocks.

From the concept to the christening MSC Fantasia construction has employed more than 4 thousand workers, designers and artists for 3 years.

With a gross tonnage of 133.500 tons, 333 metres of length, 67 of height and 17 decks at that time the ship is the biggest european vessel and one of larger in the world.

April 11th, 2007

Hull A33 first section is carried into the construction dock for the traditional coin ceremony. During the ceremony two gold coins, one representing the cruise line and one the shipyard are welden inside the keel of the ship, recalling the place where in the past centuries we would found the mainmast. A symbolic ritual which involves make an offer of something precious to protect the construction work.

February 8th, 2008

All sections are on the right place, welded to each other, propellers and rudders mounted, all is ready for another important milestone, the float-out ceremony. On this day Fantasia will touch the water for the first time. It needs several hours to fill up the construction dock with the water but eventually the ship is ready to leave her birthplace with the help of tugs and faces Loire river. Her first trip will be short, few miles towards outfitting dock where the works will keep going with the installation of hydraulic and electric systems as well as the furniture, coverings and all that concern to make sure that Fantasia will be a 5 star hotel.

October 24th, 2008

Outfitting process is almost completed and for Fantasia is the time for the first sea trials to make sure that everything on board works perfectly. Thousands of stringent test have to be carried out by 400 circa technicians coming from shipyard and company tecnical departments in order to ensure ship’s safety and efficienty. After 48 hours of tests in the Bay of Biscay the ship come back to Saint-Nazaire on October 27th.


Panoramic elevators go up for 67 metres from the ship’s heart in Atrium on deck 6 Fantasia to the Liquid Disco on deck 16 Aurora.

Together with Studio De Jorio, Ms Rafaela Aponte personally supervised all the interior decorating on board.

All the furniture and furnishings on board were specially commissioned for the new flagship.

December 10th, 2008

New MSC Cruises flagship is finally completed and ready for the delivery ceremony. The Godmother for the event is Asia Aponte, Gianluigi Aponte’s nephew, who has the honor to kick-off the Champagne bottle smashing on the hull. After the ceremony Fantasia leaves Saint-Nazaire for the last time celebrated by the entire city with course set for Lisbon, first port of call of the inaugural cruise to Naples, Italy.

At the moment of departure there were other two MSC cruise ships in Saint-Nazaire, MSC Splendida in the outfitting phase and MSC Magnifica, still under construction in the dry-dock.

December 18th, 2008

Finally the big day has arrived. Naples’ Stazione Marittima terminal is festively decorated for MSC Fantasia’s christening ceremony. A large tent structure is located in the head of Angioino pier just next to new flagship’s bow and with the Vesuvius in the background.

When night falls the show begins. Providing for the live music during the highly anticipated event MSC called for the best names related to neapolitan and italian music like Renzo Arbore with the Orchestra Italiana, Pino Daniele and Lucio Dalla. But at the end all eyes are on her, the Godmother. For Sophia Loren this is the 6th MSC cruise ship christening ceremony. Accompanied by the Captain Giuliano Bossi she performs the traditional ribbon-cutting and officially names the spectacular vessel as MSC Fantasia. 

The most beautiful ship in the World is now part of the MSC fleet and the sky over Naples is full of fireworks to celebrate her.

“It is like attending to the birth of something magic, a symbol of optimism, hope, with the good wishes name of.. Fantasia!”

Sophia Loren

▶️ You may also like

Throwback: the Renaissance Programme

Throwback: the Renaissance Programme

At the end of 2013 MSC Cruises announced a multi-million dollar programme that that would have involved all four Lirica Class cruise ships over the following two years: the 200 million euro Renaissance Programme. The project had been commissioned from Fincantieri in...

Throwback: MSC Melody, the little big flagship

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...

Throwback: Symphony, the South African Queen

Throwback: Symphony, the South African Queen

Symphony was originally built for SGTM (Société Générale des Transports Maritimes) as Provence by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson shipyard in Wallsend on Tyne (England). Intended for the South American service, she was completed in 1951. The Provence was later...