MSC Virtuosa is officially handed over to MSC Cruises at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique yard in France
MSC Cruises has taken delivery of its new Meraviglia Plus-class flagship, MSC Virtuosa, during a small flag ceremony at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.
During the ceremony, the ship was presented with her official flag and blessed to bring good fortune to all who sail on her in future.
“I am proud of what our teams have accomplished together, despite a difficult sanitary context,” said Laurent Castaing, general manager of Chantiers de l’Atlantique. “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 16th ship that Chantiers de l'Atlantique has built for MSC Cruises is therefore an example that will be difficult to overtake.”
The ceremony was attended by executives and workers from the shipyard, as well as MSC Cruises’ executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, his wife Alexa Aponte-Vago, their children, and representatives from the cruise company’s newbuilds team.
“My family and I could not miss this opportunity to welcome in person the newest member to our fleet,” said Pierfrancesco Vago. “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. In doing so 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.”
Set to enter service in April 2021, MSC Virtuosa has been billed as a “highly innovative, environmentally conscious” cruise ship due to her shore power connectivity, hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, selective catalytic reduction systems, and wastewater treatment systems that allow her to operate in line with the International Maritime Organization’s MEPC 227(64) Resolution. The vessel also has an underwater radiated noise management system and hull and engine rooms that have been purpose-built to minimise acoustic sound impact to reduce the ship’s potential effects on marine fauna.
Bureau Veritas has awarded MSC Virtuosa 11 Golden Pearls for her “range of innovative aspects”, particularly the technology and measures to improve environmental protection, health and safety. She is the first cruise ship in the world to receive a BIORISK notation from Bureau Veritas in recognition of her ability to mitigate and manage infectious disease risk for passengers.
“Our long-term goal is to achieve a zero-impact cruise operation and this is the journey we are on today,” said Pierfrancesco Vago. “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.”
MSC Virtuosa, which has been designed as a sister to MSC Grandiosa, offers various onboard highlights, such as the world’s first humanoid bartender at sea and a 101-metre-long promenade at the centre of the ship. The promenade, which spans two decks, is lined with boutiques, restaurants and bars, and is covered by an LED sky dome.
The vessel is expected to embark on her inaugural season on 16 April, starting with four Mediterranean cruises. She will then reposition to her new homeport in Kiel, Germany to begin sailing Northern Europe itineraries from 8 May.
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