It had been scheduled for delivery last fall but was delayed by reduced activity at the yard during the pandemic.
'My family and I could not miss this opportunity to welcome in person the newest member to our fleet. 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,' MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said.
With him were wife Alexa Aponte-Vago and their children as well as representatives from MSC Cruises' newbuild team along with shipyard executives and workers.
Vago underscored the company's commitment to innovation on the environmental and guest experience fronts.
He pointed to what he called the 'world’s first humanoid bartender at sea that will be the star of a futuristic, immersive experience using cutting-edge technologies.'
In addition, MSC Virtuosa has two new restaurant concepts, and the ship continues MSC's big theatrical shows, family offerings, MSC for Me guest technology and signature interior promenade topped by an LED sky dome.
From an environmental perspective, the ship has the latest hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, selective catalytic reduction, wastewater treatment in line with IMO's MEPC 227(64) Resolution, shore power connectivity and an underwater radiated noise management system with hull and engine room designs that minimize acoustic impact on marine life.
11 Golden Pearls and Biorisk notation
The ship has received 11 Golden Pearls from Bureau Veritas for its range of innovative aspects including environmental protection and health and safety. MSC Virtuosa is also the world's first ship to receive a Biorisk notation from Bureau Veritas in recognition its ability to mitigate and manage infectious disease risk.
For his part, Laurent Castaing, GM of Chantiers de l'Atlantique, expressed pride in what the yard's teams have accomplished together, despite the difficult pandemic context.
'With the construction of MSC Virtuosa, we have reached a level of finish and performance that will give future MSC Virtuosa guests the best that cruising has to offer,' he said.
MSC Grandiosa's sister
MSC Virtuosa is the sister of MSC Grandiosa, which resumed service last summer and has carried nearly 40,000 passengers since then.
Virtuosa is to remain at Saint-Nazaire until it's scheduled to begin passenger operations April 16 with four Mediterranean sailings before redeploying to Kiel for Northern Europe itineraries starting May 8. MSC Virtuosa will spend the winter season in the Arabian Gulf on weeklong cruises calling Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar.
Next up: MSC Seashore
MSC Cruises' second new ship in 2021 will be MSC Seashore from Fincantieri, bringing the fleet to 19 vessels, with a further four due by 2025. MSC Seashore is scheduled to enter service in August and sail the Mediterranean before beginning Caribbean cruises from PortMiami in November.