London, United Kingdom – Tuesday 1 February, 2022. Following a great start to the year, MSC Cruises is announcing an extension to MSC Virtuosa’s EX-UK season, with the ship now set to perform 23 sailings between April and November 2022. The ship, which arrives in the UK on the 29 April will do a selection of itineraries from two night mini cruises taking in the popular St Peter Port, to 12 nights exploring the Baltics or 14 nights exploring the best beaches in the Western Med. The additional four cruises that have been added to the schedule will visit the Mediterranean taking in sights including Palma de Mallorca, East Atlantic visiting Portugal and Spain, a Canaries cruise perfectly placed for families to explore in October half term and a repositioning to Genoa to finish the season.
Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director MSC Cruises UK & Ireland said ‘Sailings from Southampton have been our best sold cruises in 2022 and we are delighted to be able to extend the season to cater to the demand. Feedback from agents and customers surrounding the wide-ranging itineraries has been great with people praising the variety of sailings offered as well as the timings. The two Mediterranean sailings that take place in July and August have been particularly popular with families, as the 14 night cruises allow holiday-makers the opportunity to escape for some guaranteed sunshine without the hassle of flying.’
To maintain momentum and maximise current consumer interest MSC Cruises will be launching a TV ad campaign beginning in March. The advert creative will focus on ‘Only the sea’ and the unique experiences that a holiday with MSC Cruises can provide. The campaign will run for 1 month and will be featured across major TV networks ITV, Channel 4 and SKY as well as VOD (video on demand).
Of the commitment to the on-screen campaign Mr Paradiso said ‘It’s been a challenging few years for everyone but as an industry we have done everything we can to keep sailing for our customers. Through bookings and enquiries our customers are demonstrating that they want to set sail on cruise holidays so we owe it to them, and all our agent partners to show what cruises are available and generate excitement around holidays for 2022. A TV campaign on a large scale is the perfect way to do this.’
To celebrate the news the cruise line is extending the ‘MSC BIG CRUISE GIVEAWAY’ which has seen them give away 2 cruises per day in January to agents who book any sailing included as part of the all-inclusive Wave promotion. The extension to the incentive will see a further 30 cabins won between 1 and 15 February – UK & Irish agents who book a qualifying cabin will automatically be entered into the prize draw, with a guaranteed winner every day.
This announcement follows the news that MSC Bellissima will offer additional 7-night cruises calling Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas in the United Arab Emirates and Doha in Qatar, from 2 April through to 25 June. MSC Bellissima will finish her planned Red Sea itineraries homeporting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 26 March and then move to the Arabian Gulf taking over from MSC Virtuosa from 2 April.
Whilst MSC Virtuosa will sail from the UK in 2022 the cruise line has announced that all 19 of it’s fleet will be at sea for Summer 2022. This number will increase to 21 ships by the end of the year as the line adds MSC Seascape, sailing the Caribbean and MSC World Europa which will initially be deployed in the Middle East.