New MSC Cruises Virtuosa vessel boasts joint-largest retail space at sea

By Andrew Pentol |

MSC Virtuosa will come into service for the summer season from 16 April 2021.

MSC Cruises took delivery today (1 February 2021) of MSC Virtuosa, the latest environmentally conscious ship to join its fleet.

MSC Virtuosa will come into service for the summer season from 16 April 2021, with three, four and 10-night cruises in the Mediterranean. It will then move to her new homeport of Kiel, where she will commence her Northern Europe itineraries from 8 May.

The new vessel boasts 1,168sq m of retail space and 11 different boutiques, matching MSC Grandiosa as the largest retail space at sea. MSC Virtuosa has 19 decks named after famous composers; 21 bars, four main restaurants and five speciality restaurants, two new restaurants and one new speciality bar.

A 945-seat theatre offers different large-scale productions every night and the ship comprises five swimming pools, including a magrodome pool on deck 15.

A small and private flag ceremony marking the delivery of the ship was held at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint Nazaire, France, 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 and executives and workers from the shipyard.


Pierfrancesco Vago 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.”

MSC Virtuosa received her official flag and blessings for good fortune during a small and private flag ceremony at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint Nazaire, France.

He added: “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 and 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 (far-left), Captain Massa, Master of MSC Grandiosa (second from left) and Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises Executive Chairman (far-right) at the recent flag ceremony.

Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l’Atlantique commented: “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!”


Vego 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 Meraviglia generation ships, to which vessels like MSC Virtuosa belong, are characterised by the 101-metre-long promenade with an LED sky dome as the social heart of the ship. The two-deck space is lined with boutiques, restaurants and bars. According to MSC, this is the ideal place for cruisers to enjoy their stay while shopping, eating and relaxing. The area comes alive in the evening with music and entertainment.

MSC Virtuosa and sister ship MSC Grandiosa (pictured) have the joint largest retail spaces at sea.

MSC Virtuosa is the sister ship of MSC Grandiosa, which is the first major cruise line to return to the seas this summer. MSC Grandiosa has successfully hosted nearly 40,000 guests to-date under the protection of MSC Cruises’ health & safety protocol currently and is performing seven-night itineraries in the Western Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, MSC Cruises is to launch MSC Seashore later this year. The second of two new MSC Cruises next-generation ships to be unveiled in 2021, MSC Seashore brings the fleet total to 19. A further four ships will launch in 2025.

MSC Virtuosa and MSC Seashore the latter comes into service in August 2021 — will offer the latest in environmental and guest technology and a range of new experiences and features.

*Images of the new MSC Virtuosa vessel and private flag ceremony were captured by Ivan Sarfatti.



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