MSC Opera has completed a three-week dry dock at the Palumbo Malta Shipyard in La Valleta, Italy ahead of her summer cruise season in the Med and winter homeport in Dubai.
MSC Opera arrived in La Valleta in early March for her dry dock, which saw the 2004-built cruise ship undergo routine maintenance, in addition to technical and regulatory work.
The dry dock is part of a wider maintenance schedule for MSC Cruises that will see its fleet spend 150 planned days in dry dock this year, according to Cruise Industry News.
A total of 8 MSC cruise ships will go into dry dock this year for regular maintenance and technical work, many of them at the Palumbo Malta Shipyard, which is partly owned by MSC Cruises.
MSC Opera is now ready to resume service on April 24th, launching a summer cruise season in the Western Mediterranean out of Italy, visiting Naples, Palermo, La Goulette, Barcelona, Marseille and Genoa.
The port calls in La Goulette, Tunisia, will mark the cruise line’s first return to the country since the 2015 terrorist attack on a group of passengers during a short excursion in Tunis, during which 17 people were killed.
When her Mediterranean summer cruise season wraps up in October, the 2,160-guest ship will reposition to the Middle East, homeporting in Dubai in the UAE throughout the winter.
She’ll homeport in Dubai alongside MSC World Europa, the cruise line’s largest ship to date, the second-largest class of cruise ship in the world after Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class, and the largest ever to homeport in Dubai.
The 5,400-passenger ship will be used as a floating hotel for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar before entering service with a cruise to Dubai to commence her winter 2022 Middle East cruise season.
MSC Opera and MSC World Europa will sail similar cruise itineraries, with both sailing roundtrip from Dubai, and both calling Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas Island, however, World Europa will call in Damman, Saudi Arabia, and Doha, Qatar, instead of Muscat and Khasab.