As the UK prepares to open up for cruise operations, cruisers will be the first to have the chance to enjoy MSC Cruises’ new MSC Virtuosa cruise ship. The cruise line has detailed its new UK domestic sailings following an initial announcement almost two weeks ago.
This comes as many cruise lines have recently detailed new UK cruises. The country is among the very few in the world that have given the green light for a safe return of cruises. However, they will only be around the British Isles or cruises to nowhere.
MSC Virtuosa to Sail the UK
The MSC Virtuosa will debut with UK domestic sailings from this summer. Her maiden voyage will depart on May 20, 2021, out of Southampton, England.
The voyage will be the first of a series of 3 and 4-night mini cruises before she begins 7-night cruises from June 12. The new MSC cruise ship will sail from England and Scotland for the week-long offerings.
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As expected, these new cruises from MSC will be for UK residents only. The cruises are open for all guests, including those who have not been vaccinated. However, those who are not vaccinated will need to show proof of a negative test that has been conducted up to 72 hours before embarkation.
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.”
The initial mini-cruises will have a late departure out of the Port of Southampton. The ship will call at the Isle of Portland in Dorset on the English south coast and two days at sea.
The seven-night offering will have multiple embarkation ports, including Liverpool and Greenock, and calls in Portland and Belfast.
MSC Virtuosa is the sister ship to MSC Grandiosa at over 181,000 gross tons and a guest capacity of over 4,800 at double occupancy. She’s impressive with 10 restaurants, 21 bars, a 112-meter-long Mediterranean promenade, Five swimming pools including an extensive magrodome pool, and a 1,000sqm aquapark.
The UK in Demand
Since cruises were given the all-green, starting from May 17, many cruise lines have already announced plans to offer UK domestic sailings. The country is one of the first to allow mass cruising in the world this summer, and it comes while other major cruise markets in Canada, the United States, Australia, and most of Europe remain on hold.
P&O Cruises will start offering vaccinated guests summer sailing from June, and the same goes for Cunard Line, Viking Cruises, Princess Cruises, and more. However, MSC will be one of the few also to allow non-vaccinated guests. It’s also expected that Disney’s new UK sailings will also be for non-vaccinated guests due to catering for kids and families.
The cruise ports around the British Isles will be busy this summer as the country makes a comeback after a difficult year of lockdowns. Let’s see if this is followed closely by the U.S. and the CDC to allow cruises to resume there.
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