Page last updated at 10:47 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 11:47 UK

Loren names luxury cruise liner

MSC Poesia
MSC Poesia can accommodate more than 3,000 guests

Italian film star Sophia Loren has named a giant luxury cruise liner at a launch party at the Port of Dover.

The Oscar-winning actress joined Prince and Princess Michael of Kent on board MSC Poesia for the event before it sailed from the Kent port for Venice.

The vessel is the newest addition to the MSC Cruises fleet, and it was the first time one of its liners had been christened outside Italy.

Two Dover Harbour Board tugs fired water cannons in salute on her arrival.

The 93,300 tonne liner, which can accommodate more than 3,000 guests in 1,275 cabins and has its own theatre, tennis court and two swimming pools, was berthed at the port's cruise terminal over the weekend.

Sophia Loren at launch of MSC Poesia
Sophia Loren said she had always wanted to visit Dover

The launch party, on Saturday night, also featured opera singer Andrea Bocelli, singers KT Tunstall and Peter Grant, and the Ronnie Scott Orchestra.

Speaking at the event, Sophia Loren said she was very happy to be in Dover.

"I remember a film - The White Cliffs of Dover - and I will never forget it.

"It was a beautiful film, and I've always wanted to come here."

Chairman of Dover District Council, Bernard Butcher, said the launch of the Poesia had given the town a welcome boost.

"Dover, sadly, is looking just a little bit worn at the moment and our aim now is to completely revamp... I'm sure with the cruise ships coming in there will be more for the visitors to enjoy.

"This is what the cruise ships are all about really - it's commerce for them and revenue for us and this is what we're trying to achieve," he said.

Rome honours actress Sophia Loren
19 Oct 07 |  Entertainment

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