MSC Ready to Name New MSC Virtuosa in Dubai

MSC Cruises today will host the naming ceremony of MSC Virtuosa when Hollywood superstar Sophia Loren officially names the ship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to a press release.

MSC Cruises chose Dubai to host the ceremony in recognition of its long-term commitment to the UAE and the wider Middle East market where it is the brand leader, the company said, in a statement. 

A long-standing maritime tradition, the official Naming Ceremony of the ship will take place in the presence of the Master of the Vessel, Captain Francesco Veniero and local dignitaries.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, said: “We are honoured to host this time-honoured maritime tradition ceremony in the United Arab Emirates during its Golden Jubilee year and with it, to mark our longstanding and long-term commitment to this region. This is also why this winter MSC Virtuosa, a new and one of the most technologically and environmentally advanced ships in our fleet, will homeport in the country as part of our deployment in the Gulf region. 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.”

Hosted by well-known UAE TV personality Omar Butti as Master of Ceremonies, Hollywood icon Sophia Loren will take to the stage to officially name her 17th MSC Cruises’ ship by cutting the ribbon that breaks the bottle on the ship’s hull.

Event guests will be also treated to a performance by internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man, who will perform his best-known hit songs.

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. The port’s state-of-the-art facilities, passenger handling capacity and strategic location have helped us win several significant accolades, the recent being The Middle East’s Leading Cruise Port Award at The World Travel Awards 2021, received for the 14th consecutive year. To ensure that the port continues to be an integral contributor to the UAE’s economy and a significant economic pillar of Dubai, we are working to enhance its capabilities. Our sole aim is to reinforce its status as a preferred recreational facility that represents Dubai’s rich cultural heritage. Through our efforts, we will strive to ensure that the Emirate continues to gain recognition globally as a world-class cruise destination. We are also expecting a total of 126 ship calls and over 500,000 cruise visitors for the upcoming 2021/22 cruise season. This will further bolster Dubai’s tourism figures and drive our progress.”

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.”

Following the naming ceremony, MSC Virtuosa will depart on Nov. 28 from Dubai for her maiden Gulf voyage with visits to Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island and Doha.

Photo: From left: Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC; Hoor Al Khaja- Acting AVP, international operations, Dept Economy and Tourism Dubai; Gianni Onorato; CEO, MSC.


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