MSC Cruises’ naming ceremony for the Virtuosa attracted top guests like Hollywood superstar Sophia Loren and English singer-songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man.
The event was held at Port Rashid in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), on Nov. 27 in partnership with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism and DP World.
According to MSC Cruises, the event’s location recognizes the company’s long-standing commitment to the UAE and the wider Middle East market.
The Chairman of Dubai Council for Border Crossing Points Security, Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was given a personal tour of the Virtuosa before the formal naming ceremony of the ship began.
Loren officially named the Virtuosa, becoming a godmother of an MSC ship for the 17th time.
The Virtuosa features 10 restaurants, 21 bars and lounges, and five swimming pools. The ship is set to sail the Arabian Sea itineraries until March 2022 from its base in Dubai, exploring the destinations in the Gulf region like Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island and Doha in Qatar.
The Virtuosa’s passenger capacity will increase significantly for winter 2022-23, the cruise line said.
Event guests were also treated to a performance by Rag’n’Bone Man who sang his best-known hit songs.
MSC Cruises also said during the ceremonial maritime event that for winter 2022/23 it would base its first LNG-powered vessel and biggest ship to join its fleet – the MSC World Europa – in the Gulf Region and add additional guest capacity with a second ship to serve the market.
Photos by Dubai Media Office, @choppershoot, Anthony Devlin/Getty Images and Ivan Sarfatti.