MSC Cruises has taken a year-round berth in Southampton.
It marks the first time the cruise giant will base one of its ships in the UK on a year-round basis.
The move also greatly enhances cruise accessibility for passengers in the UK and Ireland.
The ship in question is the MSC Virtuosa, which launched in 2021 and became the first ship to restart UK cruises in May of that year.
The 19-deck ship returned to the UK in April of this year and will now continue to operate out of Southampton through to the end of the summer 2023 season.
MSC Virtuosa will now replace MSC Preziosa’s itineraries this winter offering the newly introduced ‘Northern Pearls’ itinerary from Southampton to Hamburg for Berlin in Germany; Zeebrugge for Bruges and Brussels in Belgium; Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Le Havre for Paris in France. Itineraries will offer a variety of choice to customers with cruises ranging from three-night breaks to three-week trips for those looking for a longer holiday at sea.
“Since MSC Virtuosa first came to the UK, the feedback from our guests has been incredible and the ships has been a huge hit. The increased appetite for stress-free no-fly cruises out of the UK combined with the benefits of the new state-of-the-art Horizon Terminal has resulted in huge demand,” said Antonio Paradiso, managing director of MSC Cruises UK and Ireland.
“MSC Virtuosa’s deployment for winter will see us increase our capacity for the season and will provide an even more attractive offering for our guests looking for a winter break without having to take a flight,” he said.
In summer 2023, MSC Virtuosa will replace MSC Grandiosa offering an appealing range of itineraries from mini cruises, 7-night sailings through to longer cruises. Further details of the full programme will be released soon.
Separately, MSC Cruises has announced that MSC Seascape has successfully completed its sea trials. It now enters its final phase of preparation for its inaugural season in the Caribbean in four month’s time. This brand new ship will feature exceptional dining venues and immersive entertainment options.