MSC Cruises has officially named its newest ship, MSC Virtuosa.
The vessel was christened at Port Rashid in Dubai on Saturday in honor of MSC’s long-term commitment to the United Arab Emirates and the wider Middle East market.
As she has for 16 other MSC ships, Hollywood superstar Sophia Loren acted as godmother for the vessel, naming her in the presence of the Master of the Vessel, Captain Francesco Veniero, as well as local dignitaries.
“We are thrilled to host this time-honored 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,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises.
“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 vacation option to support the further growth of the tourism industry locally.”
The celebrations culminated in a fireworks display against the Dubai skyline ahead of a gourmet dinner in one of the ship’s restaurants. Event guests were also treated to a performance by singer-songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man, who performed his best-known songs.
MSC Virtuosa features 10 restaurants, 21 bars and lounges, and five swimming pools. It stands 19 decks tall and includes a spa and fitness center, kids’ and teens’ clubs, an indoor promenade with LED sky dome, and an aqua park.
The vessel will operate Arabian Sea itineraries throughout the winter from Dubai, with port calls including Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and Sir Bani Yas Island.