MSC World Europa to Be Based in UAE From Next Winter

MSC World Europa 2

MSC Cruises has announced that its newest ship, the MSC World Europa, will be based in the United Arab Emirates from next winter.

The World Europa will be “the biggest and most environmentally high-performing passenger ship to sail in the Middle East,” according to a press release.

MSC said that it will also dedicate a second ship, the MSC Opera, to the Gulf region for the 2022-23 sailing season as it aims to “further strengthen its position as the region’s number one line for holidays at sea.”

The deployment announcement was made by MSC Cruises’ CEO Gianni Onorato following the official opening this week by Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler’s representative in the Al Dhafra Region of the UAE, of a new jetty for passenger ships at Sir Bani Yas Island.

This development, according to MSC, will be greatly welcomed by cruisers visiting the island off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

Onorato hailed the cruise sector in the UAE as being “an integral part of its dynamic tourism industry (and) paid tribute to the health and safety measures throughout the country.” He described MSC Cruises’ business outlook for next winter in the UAE and the Gulf as “very positive” as a result.

“The UAE is a very important market for us and next winter we are going to deploy our newest addition to our fleet – the MSC World Europa - and further increase our capacity from this year with the introduction of a second ship, the MSC Opera, in recognition of the region’s ever-growing status in the cruise sector,” said MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato.

“The World Europa will redefine the cruise experience with a variety of never-before-seen features unlike anything at sea today and the vessel will be an additional benefit to the UAE’s tourism industry. The ship will attract many international passengers from around the world, especially from Europe, and we hope to also see strong interest from guests from the Gulf Cooperation Council, especially the UAE,” Onorato added.

Onorato reminded that one of MSC’s newest ships, the Virtuosa, is currently deployed in the Arabian Gulf.

“(And) although there are challenges ashore associated with the global pandemic, we have worked closely with the relevant authorities throughout the region to ensure the health and safety of our passengers, crew and the communities that the ship visits. The combination of onboard measures along with those ashore have been extremely effective, as demonstrated by the fact that the Virtuosa is one of our best performing ships during the winter season,” Onorato noted.

The World Europa is currently under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France and will be delivered in October 2022 before she sets sail for the Arabian Gulf to operate cruises from December until March 2023.

The 2,626-cabin vessel will be able to accommodate up to 6,762 passengers, have a gross tonnage of 205,700 GT and is 333.3 meters in length. The ship will be the first vessel in MSC Cruises’ fleet to be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG).

MSC Cruises said that it shares the UAE’s ambition to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and the LNG-powered World Europa represents “a major milestone in the company’s strategy to achieve its goal of eradicating carbon emissions.”

On March 26, the Virtuosa will finish her scheduled voyages in the UAE and be replaced by the MSC Bellissima between Apr. 2 and June 25, 2022. This is the first time MSC Cruises has extended its sailing season in the Gulf and offered spring cruises.

The World Europa from December will be based in the UAE offering seven-night cruises from Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Sir Bani Yas Island, Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Doha in Qatar.

The Opera will offer a different seven-night itinerary from Dubai and Abu Dhabi also calling at Sir Bani Yas Island. Guests can then discover Oman with a call at the capital city Muscat, one of the oldest cities in the Middle East, and Khasab, the country’s most northerly city. The cruise finishes with an overnight in Dubai to give guests plenty of time to explore the metropolis.

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