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MSC Cruises to give away free FIAT to lucky ship passenger

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One lucky passenger on the MSC Divina cruise ship will be driving home a beautiful new FIAT convertible. The FIAT 50c POP has a retail value of more than $21,000.

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“The FIAT partnership has been so much fun, especially when the fleet of FIAT 500 watercrafts escorted the MSC Divina to her new home at the port of Miami last fall,” Richard E. Sasso, president of MSC Cruises USA, announced Monday, April 7.

“Now, MSC Cruises and FIAT are delighted to give our passengers the opportunity to continue to enjoy the ‘Mediterranean Way of Life’ after their cruise in a new FIAT 500c POP.”

The winner will be selected at random from guests entries automatically entered when cruisers book a seven-night Caribbean cruise on board the MSC Divina during the promotional period of April 7 to May 18, 2014, and sail between Aug. 2 and Dec. 27, 2014.

The grand prizewinner will be announced as part of a holiday celebration in mid-December, 2014. One entry will be awarded for each new cruise booking with a limit of two entries per household. Consumers must be 18 years or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or Canada (except Quebec) to enter.

GODMOTHER SOPHIA LOREN

Inspired by screen legend Sophia Loren – godmother of the MSC fleet – the MSC Divina became the first Fantasia class ship to sail from North America and the first MSC cruise ship to offer year-round Caribbean sailings. The dazzling MSC Divina made cruise history in November when she was escorted into Port Miami by a fleet of high-powered FIAT personal watercraft. With her arrival, MSC Divina became the first MSC Cruises ship to sail year-round from North America.

I was on the divine MSC Divina when she left Miami in November for her first voyage from her new homeport in a dazzling display of fireworks. On board, by the swimming pool, was a sleek new red FIAT which attracted many admirers during our Bahamian cruise.

Known as “a diva like no other,” the 1,751-cabin Divina has seven restaurants, 18 bars and lounges, five swimming pools, a bowling alley, casino, infinity pool, internet café, theater, gym, spa, Aqua Cycling at Sea, Formula 1 racecar simulator, Segafredo Zanette gourmet coffee bar and one of the most unusual staircases at sea. The Swarovski spiral staircase in the three-deck atrium contains almost 50 genuine European Swarovski crystals on each step. It felt like walking on jewels.

Each of the ship’s 13 public decks is named for a god of ancient Greece – Zeus, Apollo, Minerva, Cupid, Mercury, Aurora and so on. My cabin deck was Minerva and it was one of the most spacious cabins I’ve seen on a cruise ship. It had a nice sitting area, a work desk, flat screen TV, big bathroom with a walk-in shower, plenty of floor space and a lovely balcony to watch the sea.

I also got to see the Sophia Loren Suite (Room 16007) and it is terrific. Just as I would have expected since it was designed by the legendary actress.

‘SHIP WITHIN A SHIP’

Located within the Divina’s famous “ship within a ship” – the MSC Yacht Club – the suite has a rich luxurious red sofa and chairs, plus a lush red carpet topped by a swirly figured carpet in the living room.

Situated far forward on the ship, the suite has balcony openings from both the bedroom and the living room. A bottle of champagne was cooling in a bucket when I was there, with two glasses ready for a toast.

The bed has a plush red headboard, white bedcovers with a red fabric throw on the bottom of the bed and red pillows for accents. A replica of the special dressing table used in Sophia Loren’s own dressing room has been fitted for an extra touch of glamour.

My favorite décor items were the stunning black-and-white photographs of Loren’s most memorable movie roles decorating the walls. Movie buffs will love that, especially the one of Loren hoisting her honorary Oscar in 1991. She also won a 1962 Academy Award for best actress in Two Women.

In the Yacht Club Library, you can browse through a selection of Sophia Loren’s favorite novels. I think it would be fun to read the same 20 classics that sparked her imagination. Books often reveal something about the person who cherishes them so it might be possible to discover a little more about one of the greatest cinematic legends of all time.

Seems hard to believe Italy’s own Loren will turn 80 this Sept. 20. Maybe she will want to celebrate with a cruise aboard the MSC Divina. My birthday is in September as well and a cruise sounds divine to me. As does that terrific FIAT.

For official rules and entry information: visit www.msccruisesusa.com/us_en/FiatGiveaway.aspx.

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