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Over the weekend, MSC Cruises 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 Oct. 31 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 Grandiosa was christened in Hamburg the following week on Nov. 9. The company also announced that from Jan. 1, 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.

The 6,334-passenger, 2,421-cabin MSC Virtuosa will be the second Meraviglia-Plus ship after MSC Grandiosa. The 1,704-crew member ship 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 minimize her environmental footprint and ensure ever cleaner air emissions.

MSC Virtuosa’s maiden voyage will be a 7-night, 6-port Western Mediterranean cruise in November 2020 from Genoa, Italy. After a winter season in the Mediterranean, 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 2-story Mediterranean-style promenade lined with restaurants and shopping underneath a 305-ft.-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 stateroom.

The third of three Meraviglia-Plus ships, yet to be named, will enter service in 2023 and be powered by LNG.

For more information, visit msccruisesusa.com.

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