MSC Cruises celebrates the naming of one of its newest and largest cruise ships, MSC Virtuosa, during an event in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The naming follows the ship first debuting in the UK earlier in 2021 and completing cruises in Europe.
MSC Virtuosa Naming in Dubai
With the naming ceremony taking place on November 27, the MSC Virtuosa was finally christened after already being in operation since her debut in May 2021 in the UK. Hollywood superstar Sophia Loren officially named the vessel in Dubai. The event took place at Port Rashid, in partnership with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism and DP World.
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.”
A long-standing maritime tradition, the ship’s official naming ceremony took place in the presence of the Master of the Vessel, Captain Francesco Veniero, and local dignitaries. Hosted by well-known UAE TV personality Omar Butti as Master of Ceremonies, Hollywood icon Sophia Loren took to the stage to officially name her 17th MSC Cruises’ ship by cutting the ribbon that breaks the bottle on the ship’s hull.
MSC Virtuosa has just completed a season sailing in Europe, including Barcelona in Spain, Lisbon in Portugal, Marseilles in France, and Genoa in Italy. The second Meraviglia-Plus class cruise ship first made her debut on May 20 from Southampton, UK, also becoming the first cruise ship to restart the industry in the country with domestic sailings.
Following the naming ceremony, MSC Virtuosa will depart on November 28 from Dubai on her maiden Gulf voyage with visits to Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, and Doha.
The ship is the joint largest in the fleet along with sister ship MSC Grandiosa. Both are an evolution of the original Meraviglia-class vessels and are even larger at 181,541 gross tons with a guest capacity of 6,334 and 1,704 crew members. The ship has 10 restaurants, 21 bars and lounges, and five swimming pools.
A Busy Month for MSC Cruises
It has been a busy month for the fastest-growing cruise line in the world. In early November, MSC Preziosa became the 12th ship in the fleet to return to service by starting sailings from Brazil in South America.
On November 18, the cruise line celebrated the float out of MSC Seascape, which will join the fleet in November 2022. The cruise line also had the first-ever naming ceremony at a cruise line private island for the new MSC Seashore.