Italian icon and former film star Sophia Loren is to christen MSC Cruises’ newest ship MSC Poesia next month at a star-studded launch.

Around 1,800 people, most of whom will be travel agents, are being invited to the launch on April 5 in Dover. It is the first time the cruiseline has launched a ship outside of Italy.

Loren, godmother of the new ship, will christen the ship at midnight. Other celebrities to perform live in front of guests are singer KT Tunstall, Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, and jazz singer Peter Grant accompanied by the Ronnie Scott band.  

During the evening, US artist Brian Olsen will provide entertainment and BBC Radio One’s Fearne Cotton will be DJing.

MSC Cruises UK managing director Claudia Baino said: “Christening the MSC Poesia in the UK will provide the opportunity for both the local trade and media to experience first-hand what MSC Cruises is all about.”

The ship, which has 1,275 cabins, is the ninth ship in the fleet and is a sister ship to MSC Orchestra and MSC Musica. After the launch, it sets sail on a 13-night inaugural trip from Dover to Venice, where it will be based for this summer.