MSC Cruises celebrates float out of Virtuosa

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MSC Cruises celebrated the float out of the MSC Virtuosa at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Nazaire, France. It will be the second Meraviglia-Plus ship in the fleet, after MSC Grandiosa. The ship will now move to a wet dock for further construction and fitting until she is delivered in October 2020.

The sixth MSC Cruises ship to enter service since 2017, MSC Virtuosa will incorporate technologies to minimise her environmental footprint, including a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system and next-generation advanced wastewater treatment system (AWTS). MSC Virtuosa’s SCR will help reduce nitrogen oxide by 80%, converting it into harmless nitrogen and water. MSC Virtuosa will also be fitted with shore-to-ship power that connects a docked cruise ship to a port’s local power grid to further reduce air emissions.

Other environmental improvements on MSC Virtuosa and across the rest of MSC Cruises’ fleet include: hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems that remove sulphur oxide from ship emissions by up to 97%; advanced waste management; ballast water treatment systems; latest-technology systems for the prevention of oil discharges from machinery spaces and various energy-efficiency improvements – from heat recovery systems to LED lighting.

MSC Virtuosa’s maiden voyage will be a seven-night six-port western Mediterranean cruise in November 2020 from Genoa, Italy.  After a winter season in the Mediterranean, MSC Virtuosa will be deployed in summer 2021 to northern Europe with itineraries to the Norwegian fjords and Baltic capital cities.

MSC Cruises will soon reveal details of the guest features on board MSC Virtuosa, but these will include certain features of the MSC Grandiosa, like the two-storey Mediterranean style promenade with restaurants and shopping underneath a 305ft (93m)-long LED Sky Screen, two original new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea, and the line’s voice-activated virtual personal cruise assistant, Zoe, connected in every stateroom.

The third of three Meraviglia-Plus ships, yet to be named, will enter service in 2023 and will be powered by LNG.

MSC Cruises is investing €5bn (US$5.5bn) in the construction of five LNG-powered ships, with the first – MSC Europa – entering service in May 2022. They will be built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France, as part of an €11.6bn (US$12.7bn) expansion plan that will see MSC Cruises’ fleet increase to 25 ships by 2027.

Image: MSC Cruises

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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