‘Freak’ Chic’s to the wind! Storm Freya forces Nile Rodgers to cancel dockside performance for new ship MSC Bellissima


Host: Holly Willoughby (Picture: Dave Monk)

Freak weather forced veteran pop star Nile Rodgers to cancel a performance with his band Chic at the naming ceremony for MSC Bellissima in Southampton last night.

After strong winds linked to Storm Freya battered a huge marquee seating thousands of guests, organisers decided to continue the event back on board the new MSC Cruises ship.

There, godmother Sophia Loren started the countdown for a bottle to be smashed against the hull in a centuries-old maritime tradition.

Video of Sophia Loren starting the countdown

But the change of plan meant abandoning the scheduled set on land by 66-year-old Rodgers and his group, best known for their 1978 song Le Freak.

A performance by Eighties star Leee John, which was always due to be on the ship, went ahead as intended.

The event in the marquee opened with a duet by Andrea Bocelli and son Matteo. TV presenter host Holly Willoughby then introduced speeches by company executives and a performance by Cirque du Soleil at Sea – which is producing two exclusive shows on board Bellissima – before the decision was taken to evacuate the structure. 

Clip of the Cirque du Soleil at Sea performance

After the bottle breaking on board, guests sat down to a gala dinner prepared by celebrity chef Raymond Blanc, who is creating dishes for MSC Cruises in a new collaboration.

Today, hundreds of travel agents went on board to inspect the new ship and were due to be treated to a concert by Craig David.

See also:

Three-minute video overview of Bellissima

Photo album of Bellissima

New luxury MSC Cruises ships ‘will have one of the largest suites in the world’

Why MSC means More Ships Coming

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