MSC VIRTUOSA’S FLOAT OUT CAPS MONTH-LONG TRIPLE CELEBRATIONS FOR MSC CRUISES  

MSC Virtuosa floated out, with delivery in October 2020

· Company’s third major milestone during the past month, following delivery of MSC Grandiosa and cutting of first steel for LNG-powered MSC Europa

MSC Cruises last weekend celebrated the float out of MSC Virtuosa at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint-Nazaire, France, the third major new ship building milestone the Company has celebrated in the past month at the shipyard. The float out follows the successful delivery on 31 October of MSC Grandiosa as well as the steel cutting ceremony on the same day of MSC Europa, the Company’s first of five liquified natural gas (LNG)-powered ships.

MSC Cruises also unveiled on the same day a ground-breaking R&D project in conjunction with Chantiers de l’Atlantique named PACBOAT that will focus on the integration of a new fuel cell technology, especially relevant for cruising, on board the LNG-powered MSC Europa. The line said it was committed to contribute to the development of next-generation advanced environmental technology for the benefit of its own environmental stewardship journey and that of the entire cruise industry.

MSC Grandiosa was christened in Hamburg the following week on 9 November. The Company also announced that from 1 January 2020 it will become the world’s first fully carbon neutral major global cruise line. MSC Cruises will offset all direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its fleet marine operations through a blend of regular and blue carbon offset projects developed according to the highest standards by leading international entities that take immediate action on greenhouse gas emissions.

MSC Cruises added that while it recognised that today’s most advanced maritime environmental technology alone is insufficient to reach carbon neutrality immediately, the line would continue to invest in the accelerated development of advanced environmental technology to eventually achieve its zero-emissions commitment from operations alone.

MSC Virtuosa will be the second Meraviglia-Plus ship after MSC Grandiosa and will now move to a wet dock for further construction and fitting until she is delivered in October 2020. The sixth MSC Cruises ship to enter service since 2017, MSC Virtuosa will be as highly equipped as MSC Grandiosa with cutting-edge technologies and the second ship in the Company’s fleet to have a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system and next-generation advanced wastewater treatment system (AWTS) to minimise her environmental footprint and ensure ever cleaner air emissions.

MSC Virtuosa’s SCR will help reduce nitrogen oxide by 80 per cent with the technology converting it into harmless nitrogen and water. She will also be equipped with a next-generation AWTS to treat wastewater to a very high quality and the end product is of a better standard than most land-based municipal waste standards around the world. MSC Virtuosa will also be fitted with shore-to-ship power which connects a docked cruise ship to a port’s local power grid to further reduce air emissions. This feature is broadly available across MSC Cruises’ entire fleet and has been standard across all of the Company’s new ships since 2017. These features add to other effective environmental technologies deployed on MSC Virtuosa and across the rest of MSC Cruises’ fleet to minimise and continuously reduce a cruise ship’s environmental impact, including: cutting-edge hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems that remove sulphur oxide from ship emissions by up to 97 per cent; advanced waste management; ballast water treatment systems; latest-technology systems for the prevention of oil discharges from machinery spaces and various state-of-the-art energy-efficiency improvements – from heat recovery systems to LED lighting.

MSC Virtuosa’s maiden voyage will be a 7-night six-port Western Mediterranean cruise in November 2020 from Genoa, Italy. After a winter season in the Med, MSC Virtuosa will be deployed in summer 2021 to Northern Europe with itineraries to the Norwegian fjords and Baltic capital cities.

MSC Cruises will soon reveal the exact details of the appealing guest features on board MSC Virtuosa but like MSC Grandiosa, the ship will have a Mediterranean promenade lined with restauarants and mall-style shopping underneath a 93 metre-long LED Sky Screen, two original new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea and the world’s first virtual personal cruise assistant, ZOE, in every cabin.

The third of three Meraviglia-Plus ships, yet to be named, will enter service in 2023 and be powered by LNG. MSC Cruises is investing €5 billion in the construction of five LNG-powered ships with the other four set to propel the line’s futuristic World Class prototype with the first – MSC Europa – entering service in May 2022.

The World Class ships, like the Meraviglia-Plus prototype, will be built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France as part of an industry-unprecedented €11.6 billion plan that will see MSC Cruises’ contemporary fleet increase to 25 ships by 2027.

MSC Virtuosa’s environmental specifications:

§ Energy-efficient hull and overall design: 28 per cent less fuel compared to Fantasia Class ships (entered in service between 2008-2013) which represents a reduction of 255 kg less carbon dioxide per passenger, per cruise.

§ Hydrodynamics: optimised hull design and latest generation azipods and propellers.

§ Hybrid Exhaust Gas Cleaning System (EGCS): 97 per cent less sulphur oxide through a system which can operate in closed loop.

§ Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system: 8F0 per cent less nitrogen oxide through active emissions control technology.

§ Shore-to-ship power: fully ready to connect to local power grid to reduce emissions while docked in port.

§ Advanced waste management: comprehensive systems to reduce, recycle and reuse all waste aspects on board.

§ Ballast water treatment system: a system to avoid introducing invading species through ballast water.

§ Next-generation advanced wastewater treatment system (AWTS): treats wastewater to a very high quality and the end product is of a better standard than most land- based shoreside municipal waste standards around the world.

§ Smart heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC): two high- and low-heat recovery loops to intelligently redistribute heat and cold from the laundry room and machinery spaces to warm up the swimming pools or other parts of the ship.

§ Trim Optimisation: a software application to monitor and optimise trim, the ship’s stability, in real-time. This technology supports ship officers to keep the vessel’s trim optimised to reduce fuel consumption and optimise performance.

§ Energy-saving LED lighting: all MSC Cruises ships use only energy efficient LED and fluorescent lighting.

§ Hull paints: the hulls of all MSC Cruises’ ships are coated with special environmentally-friendly paints which impede the growth of barnacles, algae and marine organisms in order to reduce drag significantly.

About MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises is the fastest growing cruise line in the world. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC Cruises is part of the Cruises Division of MSC Group, the privately-held Swiss-based leading shipping and logistics conglomerate.

MSC Cruises’ fleet of 17 modern and innovative ships is one of the most environmentally-advanced in the industry. The Company is committed to environmental stewardship and works to minimise and continuously reduce the environmental impact of its fleet both while at sea and ashore by employing innovative marine and environmental technologies.

An industry-unprecedented €11.6 billion plan will see MSC Cruises’ fleet increase to 25 ships by 2027. Additionally, MSC Group’s Cruises Division is investing an additional €2 billion in a new luxury cruise brand comprising four super-yacht ships, launching one per year between 2023 and 2026.

Sailing to more than 200 destinations across five continents, MSC Cruises brings together more than 180 nationalities from around the world, offering an enriching and immersive cruise experience inspired by the Company’s European heritage. Expect to find international dining, world-class entertainment, award-winning family programmes and the very latest guest-friendly technology onboard.

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Forever grateful – Claire Harris xx