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MSC Cruises has taken delivery of new ship MSC Virtuosa, which will be the 18th ship to enter its fleet.

MSC Virtuosa received its official flag and traditional blessings for good fortune in a small, private ceremony held on Feb. 1, 2021, at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint Nazaire, France. The ceremony was attended in person by the company’s executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago, his wife Alexa Aponte-Vago and their children as well as representatives from MSC Cruises new builds team along with executives and workers from the shipyard.

“My family and I could not miss this opportunity to welcome in person the newest member to our fleet,” said Vago in a press release statement. “The delivery of MSC Virtuosa at such a challenging time for our industry symbolizes how as a family company we continue to look at the longer term and build our future. 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. Just as importantly, with each new ship we continue to push boundaries and innovate our product, offering new and unique experiences for our guests.”

MSC Virtuosa features some of the most advanced eco-friendly technology currently available, including: hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) and cutting-edge selective catalytic reduction systems (SCR); wastewater treatment systems in line with the International Maritime Organization’s MEPC 227(64) Resolution; shore-to-ship power connectivity; as well as, a underwater radiated noise management system, with hull and engine room designs that minimize acoustic sound impact, reducing their potential effects on marine fauna.

The ship has also received 11 Golden Pearls from Bureau Veritas for its range of innovative aspects including environmental protection and health and safety. MSC Virtuosa is the first cruise ship in the world to receive a BIORISK notation from Bureau Veritas in recognition of its 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,” added 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 will come into service for the summer season from Apr. 16, 2021 with four sailings in the Mediterranean before the ship moves to its new homeport of Kiel, where it will commence Northern Europe itineraries from May. 8, 2021.

MSC Virtuosa is the sister ship of MSC Grandiosa, the first vessel of any major cruise line to return to the seas this summer, successfully hosting to-date nearly 40,000 guests under the protection of MSC Cruises’ health & safety protocol and currently performing seven-night itineraries in the Western Mediterranean.

2021 will also see the launch of MSC Seashore, which will bring the fleet total to 19 ships, with a further four to be launched by 2025. MSC Seashore will come into service in August 2021 and sail the Mediterranean before heading to Miami to sail the Caribbean in November 2021.

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