MSC Cruises hosted a naming ceremony of MSC Virtuosa in Dubai over the weekend, overseen once again by Hollywood actress Sophia Loren as Godmother (for the 17th time). It was the second christening of an MSC Cruises’ ship within a week, as MSC Seashore was named at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve last week.
MSC Cruises chose Dubai to host the ceremony in recognition of its long-term commitment to the United Arab Emirates and the wider Middle East market where it is the brand leader.
Equipped with some of the latest marine technologies available, MSC Virtuosa is one of the world’s most environmentally advanced cruise ships. MSC Cruises shares the UAE’s ambition to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and MSC Virtuosa represents yet another milestone on the journey towards reaching this goal.
MSC Virtuosa can carry up to 6,334 passengers and 1,704 crew and is set to serve the Arabian Sea until March 2022 from her base in Dubai.
The event at Port Rashid, in partnership with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism and DP World, reflects the growing importance of the Emirate as a must-visit destination for global cruise holidaymakers and reinforces the importance of the cruise industry’s contribution to the further development of tourism in the UAE.
The official Naming Ceremony of the ship took place in the presence of the Master of the Vessel, Captain Francesco Veniero and local dignitaries.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, said, “Cruising is an integral part of the UAE’s dynamic tourism industry, and thanks to our uniquely global distribution network we will continue to promote the country and the Middle East all around the world as an attractive holiday option to support the further growth of the tourism industry locally.”
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said: “It is a proud moment for us to host the MSC Virtuosa naming ceremony at Mina Rashid that has consistently reaffirmed its status as a leading destination, regionally and globally.”
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, commented: “Dubai continues to chart a course forward as one of the world’s leading tourism destinations and the cruise capital of the Middle East, as we continually strive to realise the goal inspired by our visionary leadership to make Dubai the most preferred, visited and revisited destination.
“Hosting the naming ceremony for MSC Cruises’ newest flagship vessel, MSC Virtuosa in Dubai, is testament to the popularity of the city as the cruise gateway to the region.
“Dubai’s reputation as a cruise hub continues to grow in stature and iconic moments and milestone events such as these reflect the crucial contribution of cruising to the city’s tourism industry. With Dubai continuing to welcome international tourists, this event will build on the momentum generated by the recent launch of the new cruise season, further fuelling growth during this landmark year for Dubai featuring Expo 2020 and celebrations surrounding the UAE Golden Jubilee, and beyond.”
MSC Virtuosa features 10 restaurants, 21 bars and lounges, plus five swimming pools. The ship will serve stunning Arabian Sea itineraries throughout the winter season from her base in Dubai to destinations in the Gulf region, including Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island and Qatar.
One unique feature waiting for guests is the brand-new MSC Starship Club which is available exclusively on MSC Virtuosa and stars the world’s first futuristic humanoid robotic bartender, called Rob.
Following the naming ceremony, MSC Virtuosa departed on 28 November from Dubai for her maiden Gulf voyage with visits to Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island and Doha.