‘The sailing from Southampton is a great step forward for both MSC Cruises and the British cruise sector,’ he said. ‘Dedicating our brand-new ship MSC Virtuosa for UK cruises this summer bears testament to our absolute commitment to the local market and truly shines a light on its ever-growing importance to us.
‘We are, of course, also incredibly proud that MSC Virtuosa’s first ever sailing heralds the resumption of cruise holidays from British ports and we would like to thank the UK government and other local authorities for their support to us and the overall cruise industry to allow domestic cruising to restart.’
Antonio Paradiso, MD, MSC Cruises UK & Ireland, described MSC Virtuosa's Southampton embarkation as a ‘special day,’ noting, ‘our new flagship offers a whole host of brand new facilities, plus everything [passengers] have come to expect from a cruise with us. We are sure this will be a summer holiday to remember.’
Start of UK summer season
Members of the public gathered around the waters of Southampton to witness the 181,541gt, 1,085-foot ship sail yesterday, beginning its three- and four-night domestic mini cruises. Seven-night sailings start in June.
Weeklong sailings include calls at Portland and Belfast and offer multiple ports of embarkation such as Liverpool and Greenock, close to Glasgow, in addition to Southampton.
On board capacity is limited to 1,000 passengers.