Dubai to host naming ceremony of new MSC Cruises flagship

Dubai to host naming ceremony of new MSC Cruises flagship

MSC Virtuosa will be the most technologically and environmentally advanced cruise ship deployed in the region

In partnership with Dubai Tourism, DP World and Emirates Airline, MSC Cruises has announced that the naming ceremony for the line’s new flagship, MSC Virtuosa, will take place in Dubai on 27 November at Mina Rashid (Port Rashid). 

The new ship will be the most technologically and environmentally advanced cruise vessel ever deployed in the UAE. Its naming ceremony will feature an array of live entertainment and performances in front of special guests from around the world as well as from across the Gulf region, where the company is a brand leader. Further details of the entertainment line-up will be revealed in due course.

The event reflects Dubai’s significance as a must-visit destination for global travellers and cruising’s important contribution to the city’s tourism industry. The occasion will also form a part of the celebrations surrounding the Golden Jubilee of the UAE and will be staged as Dubai welcomes the world to Expo 2020.


Commenting on the announcement, Emirates Airline and Group chairman and chief executive His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “Dubai has charted a strong and steady course to become a global tourism destination and preferred regional cruising gateway.

“The milestone naming ceremony and maiden voyage of MSC Virtuosa from Dubai underscores the trust and confidence that the city has earned as a great partner for the cruise industry. We’ve leveraged our city’s world-class transport and tourism infrastructure, including Emirates’ investment in a dedicated remote check-in facility at Port Rashid, to provide cruise operators and passengers with the best possible experiences, with seamless sea-air connections and exciting Dubai itineraries.

“We look forward to the reinvigoration of cruise passenger growth with these solid foundations in place, and are excited to welcome the world to Dubai in the coming months as we move full speed ahead with Expo Dubai, UAE’s Golden Jubilee programmes and many other initiatives.”

MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago added: “We are incredibly proud and honoured to hold the naming ceremony for our cherished flagship and masterpiece MSC Virtuosa in one of the world’s most sought-after destinations. This event in Dubai assumes more significance due to the fact that it is part of the line-up of glorious events and activities taking place for the ‘Year of the 50th’ and coincides with the region’s first World Expo, as well as truly celebrating Dubai as one of the favoured destinations for travellers from all over the world. I am so glad that cruising has played and will continue to play an important part in this achievement. I also want to thank Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, DP World and Emirates Airline for their partnership and support in making this event happen.”

Dubai is able to handle some of the world’s biggest cruise ships, further bolstering the city’s position as one of the most viable gateways for both regional and international cruise itineraries. Hosting the MSC Virtuosa naming ceremony endorses Dubai’s position as an international hub for tourism, trade and technology. 

Following the naming ceremony, MSC Virtuosa will depart for its maiden Gulf voyage on 28 November with guests on board from Dubai as the first of a series seven-night cruises. Ports of call include Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Doha, with additional embarkations at Abu Dhabi and Doha.

MSC Virtuosa was delivered in February and is one of MSC Cruises’ most innovative and environmentally advanced ships. The Meraviglia-class vessel is characterised by a 112-metre-long promenade with an LED sky dome as the social heart of the ship. The 19-deck vessel will feature fine-dining restaurants, world-class entertainment, relaxing bars and lounges, boutique shopping, spa and fitness centres, an aquapark and clubs for toddlers to teenagers.

MSC Cruises resumed its operations in August 2020 following approvals from regulatory bodies throughout Europe for a health and safety protocol designed to protect the wellbeing of guests, crew and the communities its ships visited. The protocol was developed with input from international health experts including MSC Cruises’ ‘COVID-19 Blue-Ribbon Expert Group’. 

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