MSC Virtuosa is first ship to set sail as cruising resumes in UK

MSC Cruises’ latest flagship, MSC Virtuosa, sets sail from Southampton as cruising restarts in the UK. Virtuosa embarks on her maiden season offering 3- and 4-night mini cruises before starting 7-night sailings in June.

Today marks the restart of cruising in the UK after 14 months, as MSC Virtuosa sets sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton around the British Isles, with a port call at the picturesque isle of Portland.

The return of cruising in the UK

MSC Cruises is the first cruise line to restart sailing in UK waters, deploying the latest flagship in its fleet for UK holidaymakers this summer. MSC Virtuosa, which arrived in Southampton on 12th May, welcomed her first 1,000 guests on board. 

Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises, said, “Dedicating our brand-new ship MSC Virtuosa for UK cruises this summer bears testament to our absolute commitment to the local market and truly shines a light on its ever-growing importance to us.

Also read: Six reasons why MSC Virtuosa offers the best edible escapism at sea

He continued: “Our shipping prowess led the way last August with our initial restart in the Mediterranean thanks to a new health and safety protocol designed to protect our guests and crew, as well as the destinations that our ships visit, that effectively set a new standard for our industry. The sailing today from Southampton is a great step forward for both MSC Cruises and the British cruise sector.”

Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director of MSC Cruises UK & Ireland added: “Today is a very special day as we welcome guests back on board for a much-deserved holiday and the maiden voyage of MSC Virtuosa. Embarking 1,000 returning as well as new guests directly in Southampton allows them to explore the best the British Isles has to offer in a safe and convenient way. Our new flagship offers a whole host of brand new facilities, plus everything they have come to expect from a cruise with us, we are sure this will be a summer holiday to remember.”

Following her maiden voyage, MSC Virtuosa will return to Southampton on 24th May ready for guests to disembark and 1,000 more holidaymakers to board. As well as the series of three- and four-night mini cruises, MSC Virtuosa will offer seven-night cruises from 5th June. The week-long sailings include calls at Portland and Belfast in Northern Ireland, as well as offering multiple ports of embarkation including Liverpool and Greenock, close to Glasgow, Scotland, on top of Southampton.

Vaccinated and non-vaccinated British residents

The brand new environmentally-advanced 181,000 GT MSC Virtuosa will be available during the summer for British residents only and for guests of all ages who are either waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine or who have already been vaccinated. All guests are tested before they embark the ship and non-vaccinated guests are required to also show proof of a negative test conducted up to 72 hours prior to embarkation. These measures are part of the of the company’s industry-leading and proven health & safety protocol developed by a Blue Ribbon Panel of experts. This protocol was first deployed on MSC Grandiosa in August 2020 and has since helped protect thousands of guests sailing on the ship in the Mediterranean.

What’s on board?

Bringing guests experiences that they have missed over the last year, MSC Virtuosa has live music performances, a choice of four full-scale theatre shows, 21 bars and restaurants, DJs and more – all safely following MSC Cruises’ tried and proven health & safety protocol.

The ship is also home to the world’s first futuristic, immersive experience at sea, the MSC Starship Club, featuring Rob the humanoid robotic bartender, shaking up a galactic choice of cocktails for guests.

Not sure if you should book a family vacation at sea? With waterslides, drones, racing simulators, VR, gameshows and more MSC Cruises’ new flagship offers everything you want to create the ultimate family holiday. Find out more here: 5 reasons why MSC Virtuosa offers the ultimate family holiday.

MSC Virtuosa’s UK cruises add to current sailings in the Mediterranean of MSC Grandiosa and MSC Seaside as the company moves ahead to have nearly half of its fleet back in operation during the summer.

Also read: MSC Cruises to restart Baltic Sea cruises in July

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