• Newbuild MSC Virtuosa to make debut with UK domestic voyages
• Cruises with embarkation in English ports of Southampton and Liverpool, plus in Scotland with Glasgow’s cruise port at Greenock
• Protected shore excursions available in all ports plus the Isle of Portland along England’s Jurassic coast and the cultural city of Belfast in Northern Ireland
• All departures, including mini cruises, available for both non-vaccinated and vaccinated British-only guests of all ages
Geneva, Switzerland - 29 March 2021 - MSC Cruises announced today it will deploy its latest flagship for British guests to enjoy safe summer sailings around the UK. MSC Virtuosa will make its maiden voyage on 20 May with guests on board from Southampton as the first of a series of 3 and 4-night mini-cruises before she begins 7-night cruises from 12 June with three embarkation ports in England and Scotland.
All voyages will be for British residents only and for guests of all ages who are either waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine or who have already been vaccinated. All guests will be tested before they embark the ship and non-vaccinated guests will also be required to show proof of a negative test conducted up to 72 hours prior to embarkation. Other pre-boarding and onboard measures will also apply to both guests and crew, in line with MSC Cruises’ industry-leading health and safety protocol.
The range of four-night mini-cruises will offer a late sail from Southampton and will provide the ultimate short getaway for couples or friends in search of a quick escape. The ship will call at the Isle of Portland in Dorset, part of the Jurassic Coast, where guests will be able to go ashore to enjoy the perfect day out at the beach. The itinerary will also include two days at sea so that guests can enjoy the incredible array of facilities that MSC Virtuosa has to offer.
From 12 June, holidaymakers can join seven-night sailings that will include stops in Portland and the cultural city of Belfast in Northern Ireland and offer multiple ports of embarkation including Liverpool and Greenock, close to Glasgow in Scotland.
MSC Virtuosa was delivered in February and is one of MSC Cruises’ most innovative and environmentally-advanced ships and part of the generation of Meraviglia class vessels that are characterised by an iconic 112-metre-long promenade with a stunning LED sky dome as the social heart of the ship.
The 19-deck vessel will offer its British guests of all ages the very best of fine dining restaurants, world-class entertainment, relaxing bars and lounges, boutique shopping, spa and fitness centres, an aquapark and clubs for toddlers to teenagers.
Likely to be a huge draw for all guests will be the brand-new MSC Starship Club featuring the world’s first humanoid robotic bartender offering a futuristic immersive bar and entertainment experience.
Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises said, “We are incredibly proud that we can offer British guests of all ages our very latest vessel MSC Virtuosa for their summer holiday and I’m sure they will have a fabulous time on board with all that this incredibly innovative ship has to offer, as well as being able to enjoy a range of protected shore excursions in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”
“We also look forward to the day when current international travel restrictions are lifted in the UK and we can welcome British guests back on board our ships once again in the Mediterranean and other parts of the world that we know that they love to visit.”
MSC Cruises resumed its operation in August 2020 following approvals from regulatory bodies throughout Europe for a health and safety protocol designed to protect the wellbeing of MSC Cruises’ guests, crew and communities its ships visited.
More than 55,000 guests have to date enjoyed safe and responsible cruise holidays including the Company’s pioneering protected shore excursions.
The protocol was developed in 2020 with input from international health experts – including MSC Cruises’ ‘COVID-19 Blue-Ribbon Expert Group’ - and in close cooperation with relevant national and regional health, transport and safety authorities throughout Europe.
MSC Virtuosa was previously scheduled to serve itineraries in Northern Europe out of Germany, she will be replaced by MSC Seaview. Booked guests and travel agents will be contacted directly.
ABOUT MSC VIRTUOSA – MSC CRUISES NEW FLAGSHIP
MSC Virtuosa is designed to offer a dynamic and dazzling guest experience with innovative features and facilities and she is also one of the most environmentally-advanced ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet. Some of the highlights include:
• An enhanced MSC Yacht Club, with stylish private facilities and accommodation including a panoramic lounge, gourmet restaurant and private pool and sun deck
• MSC for Me – the multi-channel digital experience to help guests make the most of their holiday experience
• A choice of 10 restaurants and 21 bars including two brand-new specialty restaurant concepts – HOLA! Tacos & Cantina and Indochine
• The brand-new MSC Starship Club featuring the world’s first humanoid robotic bartender offering a futuristic immersive bar and entertainment experience
• A 945-seater theatre and the stunning Carousel Lounge at the aft of the ship with live productions and shows every night
• Extensive kids’ facilities including with LEGO® play areas and a Chicco baby club
• 112-metre-long Mediterranean promenade lined with boutiques bars and restaurants topped with a breathtaking LED sky screen with animations throughout the day and night
• Five swimming pools including an extensive magrodome pool and a 1,000sqm aquapark
• A dedicated entertainment area with an FI simulator, bowling, XD cinema
• The luxurious MSC Aurea Spa with full range of treatments and the state-of-the-art MSC Gym by Technogym®
• The largest shopping area at sea with 1,168 sqm of retail space with 11 boutiques and 250 different brands