MSC Cruises’ new flagship MSC Virtuosa will finally be named at an event in Dubai. The cruise line is making a restart around the world, including the UK, where the new cruise ship is currently based.
Although the vessel has been sailing in the UK, MSC never performed an official naming ceremony and maiden voyage due to the restrictions. The cruise line has now taken the opportunity to further cement its leadership in the Gulf region by doing the ceremony in Dubai that will take place on November 27, 2021.
MSC Virtuosa Naming Ceremony
MSC Cruises has been involved in building its reputation as a cruise industry leader in the Gulf region for many years. The choice of holding the traditional naming ceremony in Dubai ahead of her maiden voyage and a season in the Persian Gulf speaks for itself.
MSC Virtuosa was first delivered in February of this year and was the first vessel to commence sailings in the United Kingdom; something Cruise Hive was a part of. The naming ceremony will be at an event involving the global travel trade and media.
The ceremony is part of a partnership between MSC Cruises, Dubai Tourism, DP World and Emirates Airlines, and UAE’s Golden Jubilee program celebrating the 50th birth year of the country, which will include a host of activities held across the country
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, said:
“We are incredibly proud and honored to hold the naming ceremony for our cherished flagship and masterpiece MSC Virtuosa in one of the world’s most sought-after travel destinations – Dubai. This event assumes more significance due to the fact that it is part of the line-up of glorious events and activities taking place for the “Year of the 50th” and coincides with the region’s first World Expo, as well as truly celebrating Dubai as one of the favored destinations for travelers from all over the world. I am so glad that cruising has played and will continue to play an important part in this achievement. I also want to thank Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, DP World and Emirates Airline for their partnership and support in making this event happen.”
After the naming ceremony, the vessel will depart for its maiden Gulf voyage on November 28, which will call in Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, Damman in Saudi Arabia, and Doha, Qatar.
Gulf Region Becoming Increasingly Popular For Cruises
After becoming a significant player in the financial and oil sectors, the Gulf Region, which includes places like Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, and Oman, has become more and more popular for cruise ships.
The area, Dubai in particular, is not only relatively close to the Mediterranean but also serves as an essential stop for ships that transfer from Europe to South East Asia.
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Dubai’s Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal is the biggest single, covered cruise terminal facility globally, capable of receiving 14,000 passengers per day, although the terminal managed to handle 35,000 passengers in a single day in the 2019-2020 cruise season.
Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airlines, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum:
“Dubai has charted a strong and steady course to become a global tourism destination and preferred regional cruising gateway. The milestone naming ceremony and maiden voyage of MSC Virtuosa from Dubai underscores the trust and confidence that the city has earned as a great partner for the cruise industry.”
MSC Expanding Operations in Saudi Arabia
As part of a modernization program from the Saudi Government, Dubai is not the only place to see increased cruise traffic in the coming years. MSC Cruises has been increasingly active in the Kingdom. In April of this year, the cruise line announced it would be homeporting MSC Magnifica in Jeddah, and the port calls to Damman from MSC Virtuosa.
Ports of call include three Saudi ports, including weekly calls to Al Wajh. The vessel will also host guests during the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021 on December 5 in Jeddah. MSC’s newest and biggest ship, MSC World Europa, will sail to the country as part of the vessel’s maiden voyage in December of 2022.