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MSC Cruises announces UK summer sailings on board MSC Virtuosa

Non-vaccinated guests will be required to show proof of a negative test in order to sail
MSC Cruises’ newest vessel MSC Virtuosa will make its maiden voyage on May 20 from Southampton, commencing a series of cruises open to vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers based in the UK.

 Vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers

Sailings will be for UK residents only and passengers of all ages who are either waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine or who have already been vaccinated. 

Passengers will be tested prior to embarkation with non-vaccinated guests required to show proof of a negative test, conducted up to 72 hours prior to embarkation. 

Gianni Onorato, ceo, MSC Cruises said, ‘We are incredibly proud that we can offer British guests of all ages our very latest vessel MSC Virtuosa for their summer well as being able to enjoy a range of protected shore excursions in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

‘We also look forward to the day when current international travel restrictions are lifted in the UK and we can welcome British guests back on board our ships once again in the Mediterranean and other parts of the world.’ 

The vessel is expected to leave Saint Nazaire early this week. 


The ship will begin a series of three- and four-night mini-cruises from Southampton, with two days at sea and calling at the Isle of Portland in Dorset, part of the Jurassic Coast, where passengers will be able to go ashore. 

Seven-night sailings from June 12 June will consist of stops in Portland and Belfast in Northern Ireland and offer multiple embarkation ports, including Liverpool and Greenock. 

MSC Virtuosa

The 19-deck MSC Virtuosa, delivered in February, was previously scheduled to serve itineraries in Northern Europe out of Germany, but will be replaced by MSC Seaview.  

One of the cruise line’s most environmentally-advanced ships, it is part of the generation of Meraviglia class vessels that are characterised by a 112-metre-long promenade plus LED sky dome. 

A choice of 10 restaurants and 21 bars will be available on board; the vessel also comprises a humanoid robotic bartender offering a futuristic immersive bar and entertainment experience in the MSC Starship Club.

Boutique shopping, spa and fitness centres, an aquapark and clubs for toddlers to teenagers will be available. 

Health and safety protocol

Pre-boarding and onboard measures will apply to passengers and crew - part of a protocol developed in 2020 that has seen MSC Cruises carry more than 55,000 safely since August last year.