MSC Cruises took delivery of the MSC Virtuosa this week from the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in Saint Nazaire, France.
The Virtuosa is expected to enter service April 16 with four sailings in the Mediterranean before moving to its homeport of Kiel, Germany, where it will offer Northern Europe itineraries starting May 8.
During a small ceremony attended in person by MSC executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago and his family, Vago said that taking delivery during such a challenging time for the cruise industry "symbolizes how as a family company we continue to look at the longer term and build our future." The vessel is the 16th delivered to MSC by France's Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard.
The Virtuosa will have the world's first humanoid bartender at sea, which Vago called "the star of a futuristic, immersive experience using cutting-edge technologies." It also has features that MSC said are among the most environmentally friendly available, such as hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems, advanced wastewater treatment systems, shore-to-ship power connectivity and an underwater radiated noise management system to minimize acoustic sound impact and reduce their potential effects on marine fauna.
Vago said the features contribute to MSC's "long-term goal is to achieve a zero-impact cruise operation."
The Virtuosa is the sister ship to the MSC Grandiosa, the first large cruise ship to return to the seas this summer.