A ship originally ordered for the deposed Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi was christened into luxury cruise service in Italy on Saturday by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
The $697 million high-end liner with 1751 cabins was commissioned by Gaddafi’s son, Hannibal, to kick start the cruise industry in Libya before the country’s revolution in 2011.
The ship, originally due for delivery to Tripoli in December 2012, would have been the world’s first cruise ship owned by an Arab company. But instead of plying the waters out of Tripoli, the ship, christened the MSC Preziosa at the weekend by Sophia Loren, will embark on a series of short Mediterranean voyages from its home port of Genoa.
As 4345 well-heeled passengers cruise to ports such as Naples, Barcelona and Marseille, they will enjoy four swimming pools, 26 lifts, a bowling alley and 21 bars across 18 decks.
The MSC Preziosa also includes 69 exclusive “yacht club suites”, hydro-massage pools and a glass-walled observation lounge.
There is also butler service to arrange everything from cigars to table reservations at the first two Eataly restaurants at sea, traditional English afternoon high tea and private parties.
There is an aqua adventure park and MSC’s longest water slide at sea on the 333-metre ship.
The christening in Genoa went off in spectacular style with flash mobs from sister ships MSC Splendida and MSC Opera contributing to a light and sound show.
MSC, founded by billionaire Gianluigi Aponte, is one of the world’s largest shipping companies. It bought the partly finished Gaddafi ship after the uprising in Libya.
Gaddafi was captured and killed in Libya on October 20, 2011, by rebels opposed to his dictatorship. Hannibal fled via Algeria.