MSC Cruises, the world’s third largest cruise brand, hosted the naming ceremony of MSC Virtuosa when Hollywood superstar Sophia Loren officially named the ship in Dubai, UAE.

Equipped with some of the latest marine technologies available, MSC Virtuosa is one of the world’s most environmentally advanced cruise ships. No effort has been spared to minimise her footprint. MSC Cruises shares the UAE’s ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and MSC Virtuosa represents yet another milestone on the journey towards reaching this goal.

MSC Virtuosa can carry up to 6,334 passengers and 1,704 crew and is set to serve the Arabian Sea until March 2022 from her base in Dubai.

The event was held at Port Rashid, in partnership with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism and DP World. A long-standing maritime tradition, the official Naming Ceremony of the ship took 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 took to the stage to officially name her 17th MSC Cruises’ ship by cutting the ribbon that breaks the bottle on the ship’s hull.


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,” he added.

MSC Virtuosa features 10 restaurants, 21 bars and lounges, plus five swimming pools, and will serve stunning Arabian Sea itineraries throughout the winter season from her base in Dubai to offer the ship’s guests with the opportunity to experience the best destinations in the Gulf region, including Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island and Qatar.


The innovative ship stands 19-decks tall and is set to welcome her guests this winter for week-long cruises from Dubai with the very best of fine dining international cuisine, world-class entertainment, relaxing bars and lounges with the largest shopping area at sea, spa and fitness centre, an aquapark and clubs for toddlers to teenagers. The ship’s showstopping feature is its iconic 112-metre promenade with a stunning LED sky dome, the social heart of the ship.

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

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