With 100 days to go until the naming of MSC Cruises’ newest flagship – MSC Bellissima – the cruise line has announced details of new onboard guest experience features. I am very excited about the launch of this ship, as I have been invited along to the naming ceremony celebrations in March. I am also a big fan of MSC Meraviglia (her sister ship), so I can’t wait to see another ship of the same class.
MSC Bellissima (meaning most beautiful) will be the largest cruise ship to ever be named in Southampton on 2nd March 2019 and she will be the first ever MSC Cruises ship to be named in the city. The ship will be one of two to launch in 2019, as sister ship MSC Grandiosa will launch in November of the same year.
MSC Bellissima will be the second ship in the innovative Meraviglia class, with a maximum capacity of 5,686 guests and a GRT of 171,598. The ship will spend her inaugural season in the Mediterranean before relocating to the Emirates for the 2019/20 winter season. Of the upcoming naming ceremony events Antonio Paradiso, MD of MSC Cruises UK & Ireland said:
“We are so excited that the countdown to the launch of our ‘most beautiful’ ship has finally started. We are having three full days of celebrations in the city of Southampton and we look forward to sharing this landmark moment with media, consumers, the city of Southampton and our travel agents. The event promises to be a star-studded, glittering affair with over 5,000 people attending over the three-day period from over 20 countries around the world.”
In a busy week of announcements for the cruise line, sales also open for MSC Virtuosa, the fourth Meraviglia generation ship which will launch in 2020. She will be spending her inaugural season in the Western Mediterranean from 8th November 2020.
New guest experience features
Guests sailing on MSC Bellissima will find a wealth of new features to keep them entertained on their cruise. These include:
New digital cruise assistant – Zoe
Guests on board MSC Bellissima will be the first to experience the world’s first digital cruise assistant available in seven languages, designed to answer the most commonly asked questions in the comfort of their cabin. Zoe is a voice-enabled Artificial Intelligence device fitted in every cabin and has been custom designed for the cruise experience in partnership with HARMAN International. This will elevate the guest service experience to the next level and is employing state-of-the-art technology to enhance and enrich life on board for MSC Cruises guests.
Tapas restaurant created by Michelin starred chef Ramón Freixa
Located on deck 6 at the heart of the iconic Mediterranean-style promenade, HOLA! Tapas Bar welcomes you into an amazing culinary experience created by the two Michelin starred chef Ramón Freixa. It has been designed as a social dining experience, where guests can enjoy shared plates and a wonderful celebration of the Mediterranean way of life. Throughout the day, HOLA Tapas Bar is bustling and features a range of delicious dishes. It is a mix of tradition and vanguard in a contemporary but warm open space, with both communal and individual seating.
Ramón Freixa explains, “I want guests to enjoy a true taste of Spain through appetising tapas and a cheerful bar atmosphere.” Freixa continues, “I am delighted to be collaborating again with MSC Cruises. This partnership is special to me as we have such strong shared values and this new restaurant embodies our passion for sharing the joys of Mediterranean food.”
In addition to the new restaurant concept from Freixa, guests will be spoiled for choice with 12 international dining venues and 20 bars to choose from, including a new French specialty restaurant L’Atelier Bistrot. The ship will also feature acclaimed pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury’s Chocolaterie and Chocolate Bar, dedicated entirely to unique and elegant chocolate creations and desserts. A delight for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Two brand new Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows
MSC Bellissima will be the second MSC Cruises ship to feature Cirque du Soleil at Sea, with two brand new shows designed exclusively for MSC Cruises guests. The new show concepts will be revealed next month. This long-standing partnership with world-leader in live entertainment Cirque du Soleil, will also see a further four new shows created for sister ships MSC Grandiosa and MSC Virtuosa.
Round the clock entertainment
From a brand new Grand Canyon theme for the aquapark – with three exhilarating water slides – to a full-size bowling alley, F1 simulator and XD cinema, there is fun and interactive entertainment for guests of all ages. Six brand new West-End style theatre shows will wow guests each and every evening in the 985 seat theatre and a full programme of activities will be organised and hosted by the onboard entertainment team.
80-metre iconic LED sky screen
MSC Bellissima features an iconic Mediterranean-style promenade with an 80-metre LED sky screen as the social hub of the ship, and a shopping gallery with over 200 brands will delight those who love some retail-therapy. For those looking for relaxation and rejuvenation, the authentic Balinese MSC Aurea Spa offers 79 different body and facial treatments along with a stunning thermal area.
New magic themed kids’ programme
MSC Cruises is renowned for the award-winning kids offering across the fleet and for MSC Bellissima this is further enhanced and enriched with activities and facilities designed in partnership with LEGO® and Chicco. An impressive 700m² children’s play area will a brand-new School of Magic programme and weekly Magic Talent Show to bring a truly extraordinary touch to young travellers’ holidays.
In addition to offering the very latest in guest technology, MSC Bellissima will be fitted with a large number of environmental features and innovative technology to reduce her environmental footprint. Just like her sister ship, she will be equipped with: an exhaust gas cleaning system for cleaner emissions; an advanced wastewater treatment system; smart heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) to recover heat from machinery spaces; and LED lighting and smart devices to significantly save energy. This is all part of MSC Cruises commitment to provide guests with the best holiday experiences at sea in a sustainable way.
MSC Bellissima fast facts
- The ship will have 2,217 cabins
- She will be 315 metres long
- Shops will feature more than 200 different brands. The ship will have the fleet’s largest shopping area
- 24 musicians will provide 300 hours of live music per cruise
- There will be 4 swimming pools and 9 whirlpools
- The spa will offer 21 different massages, 38 facials and 20 body rituals
- Kids can meet 6 different mascots and spend time in 7 dedicated children’s rooms
It sounds as though MSC Bellissima will have plenty of innovative new features to keep guests entertained and enhance their cruise experience. I think it’s great to see that this ship will offer something different to her sister ship, ensuring she maintains a separate identity. If you haven’t been on an MSC Cruises ship before, don’t miss my ship review of MSC Meraviglia which you can read here.
You can find out more about MSC Cruises via their official website.
I have recently been nominated for two very prestigious blog awards – a UK Blog Award and a World of Cruising Wave Award. Voting for both closes in December. If you enjoy reading my blog, and have a few moments to spare, I would love your vote and support. You can access the forms via the links below. You’ll find me listed as The Cruise Blogger (Anna Twitchin).