AN ICONIC cruise ship will be returning to Southampton for the upcoming summer season.

The MSC Virtuosa will be setting sail from the port of Southampton once again.

Cruise operator, MSC, has announced that its fleet of 19 ships will be back at sea in 2022.

The Virtuosa will be offering its "biggest ever season" with 20 voyages from Southampton.

Offers will include seven nights exploring the Norwegian Fjords and 14 nights taking in the western Mediterranean.

MSC also reports that at least one ship will homeport in Southampton throughout next year.

Managing Director, Antonio Paradiso, said: “We had such an amazing response to sailing MSC Virtuosa from Southampton this summer that we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to bring this popular ship back to UK shores, but this time with a variety of new and exciting itineraries. The feedback from passengers has been that they loved MSC Virtuosa and are eager to get back onboard and explore more of the world on this fabulous ship.

“Despite the challenges of 2021 we had a record-breaking year with passengers sailing from Southampton and it was great to see so many new to cruise guests amongst them. We have listened to the feedback from consumers and travel agents and have delivered itineraries with more choice, new destinations and longer cruises to warmer climates – all departing from Southampton.”

Mr Paradiso added “Five years ago we announced our intention to grow our business in the UK market and I am pleased to say that this announcement is further evidence of our commitment to this target. We have made a series of investments, from increasing the number of sailings from UK ports visiting new and exciting destinations, to support the building of the new Horizon Cruise Terminal in Southampton, that all help us achieve our goal to give UK guests the holidays they want, and travel agents the cruises they want to sell.”

MSC Virtuosa will replace MSC Magnifica for summer 2022 which was scheduled to sail from British shores.

All those passengers already booked on MSC Magnifica will reportedly be automatically re-protected to the nearest like for like MSC Virtuosa sailing.

For more information visit the MSC website