Middle East Cruise News

New MSC Cruises ship MSC Virtuosa to be named in Dubai ahead of winter season

MSC Virtuosa, the newest, largest and most environmentally advanced cruise ship in the MSC Cruises fleet will be officially christened in Dubai this November ahead of her inaugural cruise season in the Arabian Gulf.

The christening of a cruise ship is an ancient tradition that started out as a religious ceremony, but today is a lavish naming event, attended by top cruise line executives, local and international celebrities and VIPs and of course the ship’s ‘godmother’.

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MSC Cruises hasn’t announced the name of MSC Virtuosa’s godmother yet, but Sophia Loren, the global icon of Italian cinema, has christened every single one of its cruise ships since 2003 when it took delivery of its first purpose-built ship, MSC Lirica (which also homeported in Dubai).

According to MSC Cruises, the naming ceremony for MSC Virtuosa will take place in Port Rashid in Dubai on November 27th, 2021, just before the ship commences her 2021/22 winter cruise season out of Dubai, sailing week long voyages in the Arabian Gulf.

The christening will be celebrated with an array of live entertainment and performances, as well as specially invited guests from around the world and Gulf region.

Further details of the line-up of entertainment events will be revealed in due course.

MSC Virtuosa will be a slightly larger sister ship to MSC Bellissima (pictured) which home-ported in Dubai last year

The event reflects the growing importance of Dubai as a must-visit destination for global travellers and the cruising’s key contribution to the city’s tourism industry.

It will mark only the second time a cruise ship has been officially named in Dubai, after Costa Deliziosa for fellow Italian cruise line Costa Cruises in 2009.

The occasion will also be a part of the celebrations surrounding the Golden Jubilee of the UAE and will be staged as Dubai welcomes the world to Expo 2020.

The newest addition to the MSC Cruises fleet will be the most technologically and environmentally advanced cruise vessel ever deployed in the UAE and wider Middle East.

MSC Virtuosa will cruise to Dammam on her roundtrip Dubai itineraries in 2021

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“We are incredibly proud and honoured to hold the naming ceremony for our cherished flagship and masterpiece MSC Virtuosa in one of the world’s most sought-after travel destinations,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises.

“This event assumes more significance due to the fact that it is part of the line-up of glorious events and activities taking place for the “Year of the 50th” and coincides with the region’s first World Expo, as well as truly celebrating Dubai as one of the favoured destinations for travellers from all over the world,” he added.

The winter 2021/22 cruise season in the Gulf will coincide with the Dubai Expo

The UAE’s Golden Jubilee programme will see a host of activities held across the country, celebrating the country’s formation in 1971 and its rise from a small trading port to an iconic global destination and one of the most viable gateways for both regional and international cruise itineraries.

“We take great pride in the fact that Dubai has emerged as the cruise hub of the region based on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make the city the world’s most visited and re-visited destination,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

“Dubai’s partnership with an internationally renowned cruise line such as MSC Cruises is testament to the global appeal of Dubai’s cruise industry and its position as a multi-faceted tourism destination,” Almarri added.

During her winter cruise season in Dubai, MSC Virtuosa will visit Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Doha with additional embarkations at Abu Dhabi and Doha.

MSC Virtuosa was delivered in February and is one of MSC Cruises’ most innovative and environmentally-advanced ships and part of the generation of Meraviglia class vessels that are characterised by an iconic 112-metre-long promenade with a LED sky dome as the social heart of the ship.

The 19-deck vessel will offer its guests of all ages the very best of fine dining restaurants, world-class entertainment, relaxing bars and lounges, boutique shopping, spa and fitness centres, an aquapark and clubs for toddlers and teenagers.

Likely to be a huge draw for all guests will be the brand-new MSC Starship Club featuring the world’s first humanoid robotic bartender offering a futuristic immersive bar and entertainment experience.

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