MSC Cruises has announced it will deploy its latest flagship for British guests to enjoy safe summer sailings around the UK. According to a press release, the MSC Virtuosa will make its maiden voyage on May 20 with guests onboard from Southampton as the first of a series of three and four-night mini-cruises before she begins seven-night cruises from June 12 with three embarkation ports in England and Scotland.
All voyages will be 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 will be tested before they embark the ship and non-vaccinated guests will also be required to show proof of a negative test conducted up to 72 hours prior to embarkation, the cruise line said. Other pre-boarding and onboard measures will also apply to both guests and crew, in line with MSC Cruises’ health and safety protocol.
The range of four-night mini-cruises will offer a late sail from Southampton and will provide the ultimate short getaway for couples or friends in search of a quick escape. The ship will call at the Isle of Portland in Dorset, part of the Jurassic Coast, where guests will be able to go ashore to enjoy the perfect day out at the beach. The itinerary will also include two days at sea so that guests can enjoy the facilities that MSC Virtuosa has to offer.
From June 12, holidaymakers can join seven-night sailings that will include stops in Portland and Belfast (Northern Ireland) and offer multiple ports of embarkation including Liverpool and Greenock, close to Glasgow in Scotland.
The 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.
The 19-deck ship will offer its British guests of all ages restaurants, entertainment, bars and lounges, boutique shopping, spa and fitness centers, an aquapark and clubs for toddlers to teenagers. The Virtuosa also features the brand-new MSC Starship Club with the world’s first humanoid robotic bartender offering a futuristic immersive bar and entertainment experience.
“We are incredibly proud that we can offer British guests of all ages our very latest vessel MSC Virtuosa for their summer holiday and I’m sure they will have a fabulous time onboard with all that this incredibly innovative ship has to offer, as well as being able to enjoy a range of protected shore excursions in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland,” Gianni Onorato, the CEO of MSC Cruises said.
“We also look forward to the day when current international travel restrictions are lifted in the UK and we can welcome British guests back onboard our ships once again in the Mediterranean and other parts of the world that we know that they love to visit.”
MSC Cruises resumed its operation in August 2020 following approvals from regulatory bodies throughout Europe for a health and safety protocol designed to protect the wellbeing of MSC Cruises’ guests, crew and communities its ships visited.
More than 55,000 guests have to date enjoyed MSC’s cruise holidays including the company’s protected shore excursions. The protocol was developed in 2020 with input from international health experts – including MSC Cruises’ ‘COVID-19 Blue-Ribbon Expert Group’ – and in close cooperation with relevant national and regional health, transport and safety authorities throughout Europe.
The MSC Virtuosa was previously scheduled to serve itineraries in Northern Europe out of Germany, she will be replaced by MSC Seaview. Booked guests and travel agents will be contacted directly, the cruise line said.