As tradition calls, a small and private flag ceremony was held at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint Nazaire, France between the shipyard and MSC Cruises where MSC Virtuosa received her official flag and blessings for good fortune. The ceremony was attended in person by the Company’s executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, his wife Alexa Aponte-Vago and their children as well as representatives from MSC Cruises new builds team along with executives and workers from the shipyard.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman commented, “My family and I could not miss this opportunity to welcome in person the newest member to our fleet. The delivery of MSC Virtuosa at such a challenging time for our industry symbolizes how as a family company we continue to look at the longer term and build our future.”
“In doing so,” continued Mr. Vago, “we remain committed to building each time some of the most innovative ships in the world when it comes to their environmental performance, featuring nothing but the most advanced available technology at sea. Just as importantly, with each new ship we continue to push boundaries and innovate our product, offering new and unique experiences for our guests. On MSC Virtuosa, this includes the world’s first humanoid bartender at sea that will be the star of a futuristic, immersive experience using cutting-edge technologies. Our exceptional dining offering has been further enhanced with two new restaurant concepts that showcase popular international cuisines to take guests on a gastronomic journey of discovery. This is of course in addition to the richness of experience that already sets us apart, such as the grand-scale nightly theatrical shows, our award-winning family offering, industry-leading guest technology, the now iconic promenade with a stunning 301 ft. long LED sky dome that is the social heart of the ship and more.”
Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, stated: “I am proud of what our teams have accomplished together, despite a difficult sanitary context. With the construction of MSC Virtuosa, we have reached a level of finish and performance that will give future MSC Virtuosa guests the best that cruising has to offer. The sixteenth ship that the Chantiers de l'Atlantique has built for MSC Cruises is therefore an example that will be difficult to overtake!”
When it comes to the environment, 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, a underwater radiated noise management system, with hull and engine room designs that minimize acoustic sound impact, reducing their potential effects on marine fauna, amongst others.
She has also received 11 Golden Pearls from Bureau Veritas for her range of innovative aspects including environmental protection and health and safety. MSC Virtuosa is in fact 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.
Pierfrancesco Vago concluded, “Our long-term goal is to achieve a zero-impact cruise operation and this is the journey we are on today. MSC Virtuosa represents another important step in this direction together with our other investments in the accelerated development of next-generation environmental technology. It also confirms our long-term firm commitment to achieving this ambitious goal.”
The Company’s new flagship MSC Virtuosa will come into service for the summer season from April 16, 2021 with four sailings in the Mediterranean before the ship moves to her new homeport of Kiel, where she will commence her Northern Europe itineraries from May 8, 2021.
The Meraviglia generation ships, to which ships like MSC Virtuosa belong, are characterized by their iconic 331 ft. long promenade with a stunning LED sky dome as the social heart of the ship. The two-deck space is lined with boutiques, restaurants and bars and is the ideal place for guests to enjoy their stay while shopping, eating and relaxing. And in the evening, the area comes alive with music, entertainment and more.
MSC Virtuosa is the sister ship of MSC Grandiosa, the first vessel of any major cruise line to return to the seas this summer, successfully hosting to-date nearly 40,000 guests under the protection of MSC Cruises’ industry-leading health & safety protocol and currently performing 7-night itineraries in the Western Mediterranean.
2021 will see the launch of two new MSC Cruises next-generation ships — the second one being MSC Seashore — bringing the fleet total to 19, with a further four to be launched by 2025. MSC Virtuosa and MSC Seashore — which will come into service in August 2021 and sail the Mediterranean before heading to Miami to sail the Caribbean in November 2021 — will offer the very latest in environmental technology, cutting-edge guest technology and a whole range of new experiences and features. Every ship that MSC Cruises builds is different from the last, and these ships are no exception as these ships represent a further evolution of their original prototype, allowing for more public areas, more staterooms, new bars and restaurants and more.
MORE ABOUT MSC VIRTUOSA
Innovative Guest Technology
All MSC Cruises ships since 2017, feature MSC for Me —the connected cruise experience that is designed to seamlessly enrich the onboard experience and help guests get the most out of their vacation. This multi-channel digital offering— available via the MSC for Me app, in-stateroom TV, and interactive screens around the ship — provides guests with the information they need when and where they want it, helps them to plan and book the services they want and puts the guest in control of their personal cruise experience. The MSC for Me wristband means that guests can enjoy the ship without the need for their cruise card, providing a contactless and seamless experience whether that is paying for purchases, booking services, opening the stateroom door, as well as enabling contact tracing as part of the current health and safety measures.
MSC Yacht Club
MSC Virtuosa offers an enhanced MSC Yacht Club, the ship within a ship concept, that offers the luxury and exclusivity of a private club, while providing the recreation and entertainment possibilities that the rest of the ship has to offer. Guests benefit from 24-hour personal butler service and a dedicated concierge team, as well as luxurious private amenities including a gourmet restaurant, elegant lounge, spacious pool area and secluded sundeck.
Award-Winning Family Offering
As a family-owned company, MSC Cruises has always put the needs of families at the heart of the cruise experience. The award-winning family offering has plenty to keep the whole family entertained, with extensive dedicated facilities designed in collaboration with LEGO and Chicco, a range of clubs for kids of all ages, an action-packed program of activities every day and much more.
The inaugural season for the Company’s new flagship will be spent in Northern Europe homeporting in Kiel, Germany with two stunning itineraries. For those wishing to experience the Norwegian Fjords, the ship calls Copenhagen, Denmark and then Hellesylt/Geiranger, Alesund and Flaam in Norway. For guests wishing to explore the Baltic capitals, the ship calls Copenhagen, Denmark then Helsinki, Finland before visiting St. Petersburg in the Russian Federation and Tallinn in Estonia.
From the end of November 2021, MSC Virtuosa will spend the winter season in the Gulf offering 7-night cruises calling Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Doha.
Air Emissions: MSC Virtuosa features hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems on all their engines. This technology achieves a 98 percent reduction of sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions. The ship is also equipped with cutting-edge selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems that reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90 percent.
The ship is equipped with shore-to-ship power connectivity, allowing it to connect to local power grids while at ports where this infrastructure is available. This allows minimized engine use at berth, leading to a substantial emissions reduction when the ships are close to urban areas.
Wastewater: The ship will feature advanced wastewater treatment systems designed in line with the International Maritime Organization’s MEPC 227(64) Resolution, with purification standards that are higher than most wastewater treatment facilities ashore. Ballast water treatment systems will prevent the introduction of invasive species in the marine environment through ballast water discharges.
Protecting Marine Life: MSC Virtuosa is equipped with an underwater radiated noise management system, with hull and engine room designs that minimize acoustic sound impact, reducing their potential effects on marine fauna and, particularly, marine mammals in the surrounding waters.
Energy Efficiency: All MSC Cruises’ new builds incorporate a wide range of energy efficient equipment that help reduce and optimize engine use. These include smart ventilation and advanced air conditioning systems with automated energy recovery loops that redistribute heat and cold to reduce demand. The ships use LED lighting controlled by smart management systems to enhance further the energy saving profile. In partnership with the shipyards, all new builds are fitted with remote energy monitoring and analysis systems, allowing real-time shoreside support to optimize operational efficiency onboard.
Fast Facts – MSC Virtuosa
- 19 decks named after famous composers
- 1,086 ft. length, an additional 52.5 ft. over MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima with more public space and more staterooms
- 21 bars, 4 main restaurants and 5 specialty restaurants with two brand new restaurants and one new specialty bar
- A 945-seat theater offering different large-scale productions every night
- 12 different stateroom types including 190 family staterooms that can be connected to create Super Family staterooms, accommodating up to six people or Super Family Plus accommodating up to 12 people
- 5 pools including a magrodome pool with a retractable roof on deck 15
- A Himalayan Bridge on deck 19 offering a fun rope course 262 ft. above the water
- 12,572 sq. ft. of retail space with 11 different boutiques
About MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises is the world’s third largest cruise brand as well as leader in Europe, South America, the Gulf region and Southern Africa with more market share in addition to deployed capacity than any other player. It is also the fastest growing global cruise brand with a strong presence also in the Caribbean, North America and the Far East markets.
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC Cruises is part of MSC Group, the privately held Swiss-based leading shipping and logistics conglomerate with over 300 years of maritime heritage. MSC Cruises — the contemporary brand — has a modern fleet of 17 vessels combined with a sizeable future global investment portfolio of new vessels. The fleet is projected to grow to 23 cruise ships by 2025 with options for six vessel orders in place through 2030.
MSC Cruises offers its guests an enriching, immersive and safe cruise experience inspired by the Company’s European heritage, where they can enjoy international dining, world-class entertainment, award-winning family programs and the very latest user-friendly technology on board. To learn more about MSC Cruises’ itineraries and experience on board its ships please see here.
The Company’s number one priority has always been the health and safety of its guests and crew, as well as the communities at the destinations its ships serve. In August 2020, MSC Cruises implemented a new comprehensive and robust health and safety protocol to become the first major line to return to sea. To learn more about MSC Cruises’ health & safety protocol please see here.
MSC Cruises has long been committed to environmental stewardship with a long-term goal to achieve zero emissions for its operations. The Company is also a significant investor in next-generation environmental marine technologies, with the objective to support their accelerated development and availability industry-wide. To learn more about the Company’s environmental commitment please see here.
Finally, to learn more about the MSC Foundation, MSC Group’s own vehicle to lead, focus and advance its conservation, humanitarian and cultural commitments please see here.