Call Me Virtuosa, A Masterpiece At Sea

Traditional launch parties are always full of fanfare but none more entertaining than the recent naming ceremony of MSC Virtuosa in Dubai, UAE. The gala event was attended by celebrities, dignitaries, the ruler of Dubai Sheik Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and for a touch of international elegance, christened by the ship’s godmother, Sophia Loren. Guests were entertained by a celebrated sand artist, jugglers, singers, dancers, a fireworks extravaganza and capped off with a mini concert by British musical star, Rag n’ Bone Man.

Middle East Momentum

The cruise line has maintained a presence in the Arabian Gulf over the years with smaller ships but deploying the new 6,000+ passenger Virtuosa to the region signals MSC’s commitment to Middle East cruising. The port of Dubai offers convenient embarkation access plus a multitude of pre and post adventures unlike any other port in the world. Seven day itineraries explore the intrigue of middle eastern culture with visits to cosmopolitan Abu Dhabi, the exclusivity of the ship’s beach stop, Sir Yani Bas, as well as Doha, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Virtual Virtuosa

This vessel is a destination unto itself offering a plethora of cruise bells and whistles that appeal to a diverse international demographic. The nod towards lavish design is evident in the multi-storied atrium accessed by the glitter of curved Swarovski crystal stairways. The Champagne bar with its ultra-mod seating and the futuristic looking Space Bar with Rob the robotic bartender surround this showpiece venue.

The two story interior promenade is interspersed with shops, bars, a Jean Philippe Chocolate Cafe, gelateria as well as a creperie’ all contribute to an illusion reminiscent of a typical European street. MSC’s hallmark arched dome lights up the ceiling with ever changing designs along with twice nightly show presentations splashed with color and music.

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Along with the three main dining venues and Marketplace Buffet, the specialty restaurant concept has been expanded with dining alternatives for every palate. For entertainment interspersed with dinner the Teppenyaki restaurant features table-side Japanese hibatchi style preparation. Carnivorous cravings are easily satisfied in the Butchers Cut Steakhouse and south of the border tastes are featured in Hola Tacos and Tequila. Savor the flavors of the Far East and Vietnam in Indochine or delve into fresh sushi along the promenade.

These specialty venues are available in reasonable cost dining packages but can also be enjoyed individually with à la carte selections. 

Let The Entertainment Begin

Daytime engagement is never far away as you soak up the rays that shine on 5 swimming pools, fly down water flumes in the aqua park or climb to new heights on a rope course. Summon up inner fantasies of driving a formula one race car in a realistic simulator, fight galactic battles with 3d realism or hone your bowling skills at the ship’s very own bowling alley.

While technical shock and awe has become a standard component of ship entertainment over recent years, MSC exceeds those expectations with focus on superb individual talent. Shows in the main theater display the incredible vocal stylings of four young men and ladies along with a troupe of dancers that perform extravaganzas employing genres ranging from pop, regional standards, showstoppers and broadway hits supplemented with intricate choreography and costuming.  The intimate in-the-round Carousel Theater features popular Cirque style performances that entertain in the characteristic avant-garde niche. It’s not only the grand scale shows that keep guests engaged but a bakers dozen of lounges and venues around the ship host nightly appearances with musicians providing international musical entertainment.

MSC Virtuosa

Photo: Steve Leland

Yacht Club

The grandiose size of the ship might take some getting used to for cruise guests familiar with smaller scaled vessels, but opening the door to the ship’s Yacht Club is an alternative for those seeking a more intimate setting. This category of lavishly appointed suites is essentially a ship within a ship offering an impressive list of upscale privileges. Savor à la carte meals in the exclusive restaurant, retreat to a private sun deck and pool all supplemented with 24 hour butler service and a dedicated concierge.

With MSC Virtuosa strategically positioned in Dubai, MSC Cruises has upped their game in offering worldwide cruise destinations and the flexibility of their book with confidence program affords an opportunity to start planning your next cruise now.

As a former Cruise Director, Steve has been cruising the world for the past forty years. Bringing a new dimension to cruise journalism, he continues to spin the globe searching for off the grid cruise adventures and unplugged destinations to share with Porthole Cruise Magazine readers.