MSC Cruises’ UK bosses have thanked trade partners for their support during the Covid crisis after the line’s new flagship arrived in Southampton on Wednesday (12 May).
MSC Virtuosa will embark on its maiden voyage around the British Isles on 20 May – the first ship to resume sailings from the UK since the pandemic began.
Virtuosa’s arrival marks a hugely significant few days for the UK cruise industry – which celebrates the naming of P&O Cruises’ Iona in Southampton on Sunday (16 May) and the christening of Viking Venus in Portsmouth and lifting of restrictions on domestic voyages on Monday (17 May).
The events will kick off a summer of round-UK sailings with 18 ships set to cruise British waters.
After greeting Virtuosa in Southampton, MSC’s UK and Ireland managing director Antonio Paradiso took to social media to pay tribute to his team, the trade and wider cruise sector after “14 months of hard work and dedication”.
“It has definitely been emotional to see Virtuosa arriving today into her homeport of Southampton for the summer season ahead,” he wrote.
“I’m delighted the cruise industry is slowly coming back, and I want to thank both our customers and our trade partners for the support you have shown to us throughout the pandemic and for the enthusiasm you have shown for our brand new flagship.”