MSC Cruises has taken delivery of new ship MSC Bellissima from Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France.

The line’s 16th ship was blessed at the delivery ceremony before setting sail to Southampton where it will be officially named by Italian film star Sophia Loren, the vessel’s godmother, on Saturday.

A delivery ceremony is when a new vessel is handed over by the shipyard to the cruise line.

The shipyard is also constructing two more Meraviglia-generation ships: MSC Grandiosa will launch in November this year and MSC Virtuosa will come into service in 2020.

Speaking at the ceremony, Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Cruises Group founder and chairman, said he was keen to continue supporting the shipyard.

He said: “I am delighted to be here to celebrate with you the realisation of our latest ship – Bellissima.

“[Today] we have been able to show our unfailing trust in this shipyard. We want to continue to support the employment of the workers here.

“We are very happy to be here to celebrate our latest flagship and the progress that has been made on our next two ships.”

The line’s virtual personal cruise assistant Zoe is set to launch on MSC Bellissima ahead of the naming ceremony.

A letter from MSC Cruises told passengers on the shakedown sailing from Saint Nazaire to Southampton the device was still “learning” and would be launched on March 2.