MSC Cruises extends UK and Arabian Gulf programmes
By Katie McGonagle | 1 Feb 2022
MSC Virtuosa will operate an extra four sailings from Southampton while MSC Bellissima remains in Dubai until June
The new itineraries range from seven to 14 nights, taking in the western Mediterranean, Spain and Portugal, and a half-term departure to the Canary Islands, before the ship moves to Genoa in Italy in November.
Antonio Paradiso, UK & Ireland managing director for MSC Cruises, said: “Originally she was to be in the UK from the end of April to October 4. We are adding an extra month of sailings because customers have asked for it.
“Officially it’s the longest season we have ever done from the UK, and it’s on board one of the most beautiful new ships in our fleet.
“Sailing from the UK is always a hassle-free experience, because even if you’re visiting many countries, we’re looking after all the requirements. All you need to do is pack up a suitcase and get on board!”
Win a cruise on board MSC Virtuosa this summer
Paradiso said the line’s ex-UK itineraries were “by far the most sold” this year but predicted that demand for fly-cruise holidays to the Mediterranean would pick up from March.
MSC Bellissima will also operate an extended season in the Arabian Gulf following a delay to planned itineraries in Asia. The ship has been operating Red Sea sailings from a home port in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and will switch to Dubai from April 2 – replacing MSC Virtuosa – for cruises to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha until June.
Paradiso said: “We have seen rather strong demand for Dubai, especially from the UK, so we have decided to extend the season.
“She [MSC Bellissima] will be performing seven-night itineraries from April to June. It’s the first time we will have a ship based in Dubai during those months, and from what I have seen, that is going to go down well – especially in the UK.
“Our plan is to have all of our ships up and running by the summer.
“We have an optimistic outlook and we believe that things will continue to improve. We’re in a very different situation from last year.”
MSC Cruises is also set to launch two new ships this year: MSC Seascape and first-in-class MSC World Europa.