MSC Virtuosa to return to UK next summer

MSC Cruises will bring MSC Virtuosa back to Southampton next summer before it deploys another ship during the winter season.

MSC Virtuosa, which can carry up to 6,300-passengers, will operate a mix of 20 sailings, ranging in length from two to 14 nights calling into destinations in Norway, the Baltics and the western Mediterranean. Voyages are now available to book.

The ship was the first vessel to resume UK operations in May and offered a programme of round-Britain cruises until September.

Due to the “popularity” of Virtuosa’s summer sailings this year, MSC said another ship will also operate ex-UK sailings during winter 2022-23.

The vessel will be announced later this month and will offer similar Northern European sailings to those that MSC Magnifica is currently operating.

The UK 2022 season will be the line’s biggest ever programme out of Southampton and will offer “something for every holidaymaker”, MSC said.

Previously, MSC Magnifica had been scheduled to be deployed in the UK next summer. Agents and passengers with bookings on Magnifica will be contacted directly by the line and offered the chance to switch to “a like for like” Virtuosa sailing.

UK and Ireland managing director Antonio Paradiso said: “We had such an amazing response to sailing MSC Virtuosa from Southampton this summer that we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to bring this ship back, but this time with a variety of new and exciting itineraries.

“The feedback from passengers has been that they loved MSC Virtuosa and are eager to get back onboard and explore more of the world on this fabulous ship.”

He added that 2021 was a “record-breaking year” for MSC in terms of passenger numbers sailing from Southampton.

“It was great to see so many new to cruise guests amongst them,” he said. “We have listened to the feedback from consumers and travel agents and have delivered itineraries with more choice, new destinations and longer cruises to warmer climates – all departing from Southampton.”

The deployment demonstrated MSC’s commitment to the UK market, said Paradiso, who added: “We have made a series of investments, that helps us achieve our goal to give UK guests the holidays they want, and travel agents the cruises they want to sell.”

MSC Virtuosa’s summer programme includes a three-night sailing to Rotterdam, three Baltic Capitals departures across May, July and September and a 14-night Western Mediterranean itinerary with seven ports of call.

The ship will also offer four Norwegian Fjords itineraries in the summer, calling into Flam, Stavanger, Maloy and Olden, all Norway.

Both Maloy and Olden are new ports of the call for MSC.

Hollywood icon Sophia Loren oversaw MSC Virtuosa being officially named in Dubai last weekend. Loren smashed a bottle against the ship’s hull to complete the christening event.

More: Nearly half of MSC’s ex-UK passengers new to cruise

MSC Cruises officially names Virtuosa in Dubai

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