• 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 (March 29, 2021) — MSC Cruises announced today it will deploy its latest flagship for British guests to enjoy safe summer sailings around the UK. MSC Virtuosa’s maiden voyage on May 20, with guests embarking from Southampton, will be the first in a series of 3 and 4-night mini-cruises before beginning 7-night cruises starting June 12 from three embarkation ports in England and Scotland.


All voyages will be for British residents only and for guests of all ages who have either already been vaccinated or are waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine. All guests will be tested before embarking 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 and enjoy a perfect day at the beach. The itinerary will also include two days at sea so guests can enjoy the incredible activities, entertainment and amenities that MSC Virtuosa has to offer. 


Starting June 12, cruisers can join seven-night sailings that will include stops in Portland and the cultural city of Belfast in Northern Ireland with multiple ports of embarkation including Liverpool and Greenock, close to Glasgow in Scotland.


MSC Virtuosa was delivered in February and is not only MSC Cruises’ newest ship, but also its most innovative and environmentally-advanced ships to-date. MSC Virtuosa is part of the Meraviglia class vessels that are characterized by an iconic 367-ft.-long Mediterranean style promenade with a stunning LED sky dome, serving as the social heart of the ship.


The 19-deck ship 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 centers, a dynamic aquapark and dedicated clubs for kids from toddlers to teenagers.


Guets on board will be wowed by the brand-new MSC Starship Club featuring the world’s first humanoid robotic bartender, named Rob, 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 operations 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 vacations 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, and she will be replaced by MSC Seaview. Booked guests and travel agents will be contacted directly.





MSC Virtuosa is designed to offer guests 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 ship’s highlights include:


  • An enhanced MSC Yacht Club, with stylish private facilities and accommodations 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 vacation 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-seat theater 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
  • 367-ft.-long Mediterranean style 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 10,763 sq. ft. aquapark
  • A dedicated entertainment area with an F1 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 12,464 sq. ft. of retail space with 11 boutiques and 250 different brands



About MSC Cruises


MSC Cruises is the world’s third largest cruise brand as well as the 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 in the Caribbean, North America and the Far East markets.


Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC Cruises one of the two brands that sit within the Cruises Division of MSC Group, the leading privately held Swiss-based shipping and logistics conglomerate with over 300 years of maritime heritage. MSC Cruises — the contemporary brand — has a modern fleet of 18 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.