MSC Cruises will extend MSC Virtuosa’s ex-UK season by one month after a strong start to the year.
MSC Virtuosa will now perform 23 sailings from Southampton from April 29 to November 4.
The additional four cruises will head to the Mediterranean with highlights including a family-friendly cruise to the Canaries in October half-term.
In a boost for agents, the line will extend its Big Cruise Giveaway incentive to February 15 to give away 30 more cruise holidays.
UK and Irish agents who book any sailing included as part of the line’s all-inclusive Wave promotion will automatically be entered into a prize draw, with a guaranteed winner every day.
MSC is also set to launch a month-long TV ad campaign in early March, focussing on “unique experiences that a holiday with MSC Cruises can provide”. The adverts will be featured on ITV, Channel 4 and Sky, as well as video on demand.
Antonio Paradiso, managing director MSC Cruises UK & Ireland, said: “Sailings from Southampton have been our best sold cruises in 2022 and we are delighted to be able to extend the season to cater to the demand. Feedback from agents and customers surrounding the wide-ranging itineraries has been great with people praising the variety of sailings offered as well as the timings. The two Mediterranean sailings that take place in July and August have been particularly popular with families, as the 14-night cruises allow holiday-makers the opportunity to escape for some guaranteed sunshine without the hassle of flying.”
Referring to the TV ad campaign, Mr Paradiso said: “It’s been a challenging few years for everyone but as an industry we have done everything we can to keep sailing for our customers. Through bookings and enquiries our customers are demonstrating that they want to set sail on cruise holidays so we owe it to them, and all our agent partners to show what cruises are available and generate excitement around holidays for 2022. A TV campaign on a large scale is the perfect way to do this.”
The announcement follows the news that MSC Bellissima is offering additional seven-night cruises around Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas in the United Arab Emirates and Doha in Qatar, from April 2 to June 25.
MSC Bellissima will finish its planned Red Sea itineraries homeporting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on March 26 and then move to the Arabian Gulf taking over from MSC Virtuosa from April 2.
Whilst MSC Virtuosa will sail from the UK in 2022, the cruise line has announced that all 19 of its fleet will be at sea for summer 2022. This number will increase to 21 ships by the end of the year as the line adds MSC Seascape, sailing the Caribbean and MSC World Europa which will initially be deployed in the Middle East.