Dubai, United Arab Emirates – November 27, 2021 – MSC Cruises, the world’s third largest cruise brand, will today host the naming ceremony of MSC Virtuosa when Hollywood superstar Sophia Loren officially names the ship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
MSC Cruises chose Dubai to host the ceremony in recognition of its long-term commitment to the UAE and the wider Middle East market where it is the brand leader.
Equipped with some of the latest marine technologies available, MSC Virtuosa is one of the world’s most environmentally advanced cruise ships. No effort has been spared to minimize her footprint. MSC Cruises shares the UAE’s ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and MSC Virtuosa represents yet another milestone on the journey toward reaching this goal.
MSC Virtuosa can carry up to 6,334 passengers and 1,704 crew and is set to serve the Arabian Sea until March 2022 from her base in Dubai.
The event at Port Rashid, in partnership with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism and DP World, reflects the growing importance of the Emirates as a must-visit destination for global cruisers and reinforces the importance of the cruise industry’s contribution to the further development of tourism in the UAE.
A long-standing maritime tradition, the official Naming Ceremony of the ship will take place in the presence of the Master of the Vessel, Captain Francesco Veniero, and local dignitaries.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, said, “We are thrilled to host this time-honored maritime tradition ceremony in the United Arab Emirates during its Golden Jubilee year and with it, to mark our longstanding and long-term commitment to this region. This is also why this winter, MSC Virtuosa, a new and one of the most technologically and environmentally advanced ships in our fleet, will homeport in the country as part of our deployment in the Gulf region. Cruising is an integral part of the UAE’s dynamic tourism industry and, thanks to our uniquely global distribution network, we will continue to promote the country and the Middle East all around the world as an attractive vacation option to support the further growth of the tourism industry locally."
Hosted by well-known UAE TV personality Omar Butti as Master of Ceremonies, Hollywood icon Sophia Loren will take to the stage to officially name her 17th MSC Cruises’ ship by cutting the ribbon that breaks the bottle on the ship’s hull.
The star-studded night will culminate in a spectacular firework display against the stunning Dubai skyline, before a celebratory gourmet dinner in one of the ships’ elegant restaurants. Event guests will be also treated to a performance by internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man, who will perform his best-known hit songs.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said, “It is a proud moment for us to host the MSC Virtuosa naming ceremony at Mina Rashid, which has consistently reaffirmed its status as a leading destination, regionally and globally. The port’s state-of-the-art facilities, passenger handling capacity and strategic location have helped us win several significant accolades, the most recent being The Middle East's Leading Cruise Port Award at The World Travel Awards 2021, received for the 14th consecutive year. To ensure that the port continues to be an integral contributor to the UAE’s economy and a significant economic pillar of Dubai, we are working to enhance its capabilities. Our sole aim is to reinforce its status as a preferred recreational facility that represents Dubai’s rich cultural heritage. Through our efforts, we will strive to ensure that the Emirates continue to gain recognition globally as a world-class cruise destination. We are also expecting a total of 126 ship calls and over 500,000 cruise visitors for the upcoming 2021/22 cruise season. This will further bolster Dubai’s tourism figures and drive our progress.”
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, commented: “Dubai continues to chart a course forward as one of the world’s leading tourism destinations and the cruise capital of the Middle East, as we continually strive to realize the goal inspired by our visionary leadership to make Dubai the most preferred, visited and revisited destination. Hosting the naming ceremony for MSC Cruises’ newest flagship vessel, MSC Virtuosa, in Dubai is a testament to the popularity of the city as the cruise gateway to the region. Dubai’s reputation as a cruise hub continues to grow in stature, and iconic moments and milestone events such as these reflect the crucial contribution of cruising to the city’s tourism industry. With Dubai continuing to welcome international tourists, this event will build on the momentum generated by the recent launch of the new cruise season, further fueling growth during this landmark year for Dubai featuring Expo 2020 and celebrations surrounding the UAE Golden Jubilee, and beyond.”
A #MasterpieceAtSea, MSC Virtuosa features 10 restaurants, 21 bars and lounges, and five swimming pools. The ship will serve stunning Arabian Sea itineraries throughout the winter season from her base in Dubai to offer the ship’s guests the opportunity to experience the best destinations in the Gulf region, including Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island and Qatar.
The innovative ship stands 19-decks tall and is set to welcome her guests this winter for week-long cruises from Dubai with the very best of international fine dining cuisine, world-class entertainment, relaxing bars and lounges, and the largest shopping area at sea. The ship also offers a spa and fitness center, an aquapark, and clubs for toddlers to teenagers. The ship’s showstopping feature is its iconic 367-foot promenade with a stunning LED sky dome, the social heart of the ship.
One unique feature awaiting guests is the brand-new MSC Starship Club, which is available exclusively on MSC Virtuosa and stars the world’s first futuristic humanoid robotic bartender, named Rob.
The event at Port Rashid will take place in compliance with all public health and safety protocols established by the Dubai government, supported by MSC Cruises’ industry-leading health and safety protocols which allowed the line’s ships to restart operations in 2020. The special occasion is also part of celebrations surrounding the Golden Jubilee of the UAE and coincides with Dubai’s hosting of World EXPO 2020.
Following the naming ceremony, MSC Virtuosa will depart on November 28 from Dubai for her maiden Gulf voyage with visits to Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island and Doha. For more itinerary information, please click here.
To learn more about MSC Virtuosa, please click here.
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MSC Virtuosa is designed to offer a dynamic and dazzling guest experience with innovative features and facilities. She is also one of the most environmentally-advanced ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet. A #MasterpieceAtSea, her highlights include:
In line with MSC Cruises’ pledge to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from its marine operations by 2050, MSC Virtuosa features some of the most advanced technology currently available, including: hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) and cutting-edge selective catalytic reduction systems (SCR); wastewater treatment systems in line with the International Maritime Organization’s MEPC 227(64) Resolution; shore-to-ship power connectivity; as well as, an underwater radiated noise management system, with hull and engine room designs that minimize acoustic sound impact, reducing their potential effects on marine fauna, among other benefits.
MSC Virtuosa has also received 11 Golden Pearls from Bureau Veritas for her range of innovative aspects, including environmental protection and health and safety. She is the first cruise ship in the world to receive a BIORISK notation from Bureau Veritas in recognition of her ability to mitigate and manage infectious disease risk for passengers.