Now it's official: MSC Cruises announces that its newest flagship, the MSC Virtuosa, will be deployed in Southampton during the 2021 summer season. Thus, all Kiel departures this summer for the more than 330 meters long cruise ship are canceled. Instead, MSC Seaview is to take over MSC Virtuosa's Northern Europe season.
Cruises around the British Isles.
From the 20. May 2021 the MSC Virtuosa will be based in Southampton, England and will do some short cruises (4 nights). The four-night mini-cruises are offered from Southampton. The ship will call at the Isle of Portland in Dorset on the UK's Jurassic Coast, where guests can go ashore and spend a day on the beach. The itinerary also includes two days at sea so guests can enjoy the incredible variety of facilities MSC Virtuosa has to offer.
From 12. June 2021 vacationers will be able to embark on 7-night cruises that include stops in Portland and the cultural city of Belfast in Northern Ireland and offer several ports of embarkation, including Liverpool and Greenock near Glasgow in Scotland.
Antonio Paradiso, managing director MSC Cruises UK& Ireland: "Following our recent announcement of plans to offer cruises in the UK, we have been overwhelmed by the response from MSC Cruises' customers and excited guests to re-board and experience a cruise with us this summer. Personally, I am very proud to bring our newest ship, MSC Virtuosa, to the UK so that our valued UK guests can be the first to officially board and experience this incredible next generation ship."
Bookable for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated British cruise vacationers.
Not like the competition, MSC Cruises also wants to take non-vaccinated Britons on board. These are logically tested for Corona before embarkation and must be negative at this time. In addition, unvaccinated guests will be required to take a PCR test 72 hours prior to embarkation, which must also be presented upon embarkation (the result must be negative).
For British guests who are already vaccinated, the testing requirement also applies. These will most likely be tested for Corona by antigen test upon embarkation.
The big advantage: children are thus also warmly welcome. So families can still make their cruise vacation possible, which is not possible with P&O Cruises or Princess Cruises due to the strict vaccination requirement.
Expansion of the fleet in England likely.
Before the announcement of the MSC Virtuosa in England, there was long speculation whether the MSC Magnifica will nevertheless take over the cruises from/to Southampton. This will not happen for the time being and will remain based in Genoa as it has been for the last few months. It is not known if and when she will be transferred to England.
Gianni Onorato, CEO MSC Cruises also stressed in a video call with Travel Weekly that there are chances and opportunities for another ship to be based in England later this year. This of course depends on the situation in England as well as the pandemic worldwide.
MSC Seaview new departure/arrival planned from/to Kiel, Germany.
For the coming summer season, the MSC Seaview will now take over the cruises from/to Kiel, Germany: "We are delighted to welcome the MSC Seaview, the first ship of the innovative Seaside class, to Germany," says Christian Hein, Managing Director of MSC Cruises Germany. "So far, the class of ships with the novel design concept that makes it possible to experience the sea intensively has only been deployed in warm regions such as the Caribbean, South America or the Mediterranean Sea. An outdoor promenade, just above the waves, a glass skywalk, 40 meters above the sea, panoramic lifts, glass walkways, a zipline across the upper deck and plenty of outdoor space put the sea and nature at the heart of the experience. With fine dining, live music and world-class entertainment, as well as the largest MSC Aurea Spa in the fleet, the ship also offers a pampering program for all the senses as a contrast to this."
Exactly what will happen to the Mediterranean sailings and from when the MSC Seaview will be deployed in Kiel is currently unclear, especially as Germany has no plans to open up tourism yet. MSC Cruises will provide further information on this.