Traditional flag ceremony held today in person at the shipyard to welcome the newest member to the MSC Cruises fleet
Geneva, Switzerland – 1 February 2021 - MSC Cruises today took delivery of MSC Virtuosa, the latest highly-innovative, environmentally-conscious ship to join its fleet.
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 symbolises 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 with 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, the award-winning family offering, industry-leading guest technology, of course the now iconic promenade with a stunning 91.8 metre 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, underwater radiated noise management system, with hull and engine room designs that minimise acoustic sound impact, reducing their potential effects on marine fauna, amongst other.
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 16 April, with four cruises in the Mediterranean of 3-,-4- and 10-nights before the ship moves to her new homeport of Kiel, where she will commence her Northern Europe itineraries from 8 May.
The Meraviglia generation ships to which ships like MSC Virtuosa belong are characterised by the iconic 101-metre-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 - it is the ideal place to enjoy your stay whilst shopping, eating and relaxing. And in the evening, it 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 currently performing 7-night itineraries in the Western Mediterranean.
2021 will see two 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, 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 cabins, new bars and restaurants and more.
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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 enrich seamlessly the onboard experience and help guests to get the most out of their holiday. This multi-channel digital offering 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. This multi-channel experience is available via the MSC for Me app, in-cabin TV, interactive screens around the ship. 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 cabin 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, whilst 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 and 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 programme 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. Whilst guests wishing to explore the Baltic capitals, the ship calls Copenhagen, Denmark then Helsinki, Finland on to St Petersburg, Russian Federation and Tallinn in Estonia.
From the end of November, MSC Virtuosa will spend the winter season spent 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% 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%.
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 to minimise 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 minimise acoustic sound impact, reducing their potential effects on marine fauna, most particularly on marine mammals in the surrounding waters.
Energy Efficiency: All MSC Cruises’ newbuilds incorporate a wide range of energy efficient equipment that help reduce and optimise 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 optimise operational efficiency onboard.
Fast Facts – MSC Virtuosa
- 19 decks named after famous composers
- At 331 metres long, this ship has an extra 16 metres versus MSC Meraviglia and MSC Bellissima with more public space and more cabins
- 21 bars, 4 main restaurants and 5 specialty restaurants with two brand new restaurants and one new specialty bar
- A 945-seat theatre offering different large-scale productions every night
- 12 different cabin types including 190 family cabins that can be connected to create Super Family cabins, accommodating up to six people or Super Family Plus accommodating up to 12 people
- 5 pools including a magrodome pool on deck 15
- A Himalayan Bridge on deck 19 offering a fun rope course 80 metres above the water
- 1,168 sqm of retail space with 11 different boutiques