Naming Ceremony of MSC Virtuosa to Take Place in Dubai on Nov. 27

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MSC Cruises in partnership with Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), DP World and Emirates Airline, has announced that the naming ceremony for the line’s newest flagship, the MSC Virtuosa, will take place in Dubai on Nov. 27 at Mina Rashid (Port Rashid).

The cruise line said that this event reflects “the growing importance of Dubai as a must-visit destination for global travelers and cruising’s important contribution to the city’s tourism industry.”

According to a press release, the newest addition to the MSC Cruises fleet derives her name from the Italian word virtuoso and refers to the master craftsmen who designed and developed the ship, which “will be the most technologically and environmentally advanced cruise vessel ever deployed in the United Arab Emirates.” The naming ceremony event will take place in compliance with all public health and safety protocols established by the Dubai government, as well as with the support of MSC Cruises’ health and safety protocol that will allow the line’s ships to restart operations in the Gulf region, MSC said.

The occasion will also be a part of the celebrations surrounding the Golden Jubilee of the UAE and will be staged as Dubai welcomes the world to Expo 2020.

“Dubai has charted a strong and steady course to become a global tourism destination and preferred regional cruising gateway. The milestone naming ceremony and maiden voyage of MSC Virtuosa from Dubai underscore the trust and confidence that the city has earned as a great partner for the cruise industry. We’ve leveraged our city’s world-class transport and tourism infrastructure, including with Emirates’ investment in a dedicated remote check-in facility at Port Rashid, to provide cruise operators and passengers the best possible experiences, with seamless sea-air connections and exciting Dubai itineraries during their transit. We look forward to the reinvigoration of cruise passenger growth with these solid foundations in place, and are excited to welcome the world to Dubai in the coming months as we move full speed ahead with the Expo Dubai, UAE’s Golden Jubilee programs, and many other initiatives,” Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said.

“We are incredibly proud and honored to hold the naming ceremony for our cherished flagship and masterpiece MSC Virtuosa in one of the world’s most sought-after travel destinations - Dubai. This event assumes more significance due to the fact that it is part of the line-up of glorious events and activities taking place for the 'Year of the 50th' and coincides with the region’s first World Expo, as well as truly celebrating Dubai as one of the favored destinations for travelers from all over the world. I am so glad that cruising has played and will continue to play an important part in this achievement. I also want to thank Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, DP World and Emirates Airline for their partnership and support in making this event happen,” Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, Pierfrancesco Vago, said.

The UAE’s Golden Jubilee program will see a host of activities held across the country, celebrating the country’s formation in 1971 and its rise from a small trading port to a global destination.

MSC said that hosting the Virtuosa naming ceremony “recognizes Dubai’s position as an international hub for tourism, trade and technology, and highlights its achievement in setting the highest international standards across various sectors over the past 50 years.”

“We take great pride in the fact that Dubai has emerged as the cruise hub of the region based on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to make the city the world’s most visited and re-visited destination. Dubai’s partnership with an internationally renowned cruise line such as MSC Cruises is a testament to the global appeal of Dubai’s cruise industry and its position as a multi-faceted tourism destination. This milestone event will contribute towards sustaining tourism momentum and further strengthen the destination proposition, as we continue to open up to the world in a safe and secure way,” Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), Helal Saeed Almarri, said.

“Within the past five decades, Dubai has built a heritage of excellence across several spheres with the city’s transformation into a highly successful international city being largely driven by the unique style of collaboration between the government and private sectors. As we look forward to marking this momentous tourism event in this landmark year for Dubai, we remain grateful to our valued network of stakeholders and partners such as Emirates and DP World for their continued support, which has helped Dubai kick-start global tourism recovery including a return to cruising in the region,” he added.

The Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulaye, said that the partnership “further consolidates collaboration, takes MSC Cruises’ operations in Dubai to a new level and highlights the emirate’s world-class ability to embrace the expected growth in cruise tourism.”

“As the industry prepares for the return of global tourists with health and safety protocols in place, the event planned in November adds to the glitter of EXPO 2020 and highlights Dubai’s position as a cruise destination of choice,” Bin Sulaye said.

Following the naming ceremony, the Virtuosa will depart for her maiden Gulf voyage on Nov. 28 with guests onboard from Dubai as the first of a series of seven-night cruises with visits to the ports of Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Doha in Qatar with additional embarkations at Abu Dhabi and Doha.

The Virtuosa was delivered in February and is one of MSC Cruises’ most innovative and environmentally advanced ships and part of the generation of Meraviglia class vessels that are characterized by a 112-meter-long promenade with an LED skydome as the “social heart of the ship.”

On May 20, MSC was the first to restart operations in the UK where the Virtuosa is currently performing local cruises in British Isles. Thousands of guests have to date enjoyed safe and responsible cruise holidays including the company’s protected shore excursions.

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