MSC Splendida will receive a comprehensive refit and refurbishment in November just before her debut in the Middle East for her Arabian Gulf cruise season out of Dubai, MSC has revealed.
Splendida will be replacing MSC Fantasia on MSC Cruises roundtrip Middle East cruises from Dubai and will then be repositioned to China in March 2018 when the cruise season in the region ends.
As such, she will come to the region boasting a number of fresh, new features, including a new signature restaurant curated by famous chef Jereme Leung.
MSC Splendida features a Swarovski crystal stubbed staircase in the lobby worth more than US $3-million.
“It has been my long-held dream to open a restaurant on a cruise ship. MSC Cruises’ passion for the sea, pursuit of craftsmanship, attention to detail and quality and innovative spirit are well matched with my passion for cuisine,” said Leung. With our joint efforts, I’m confident that this restaurant will offer a culinary experience comparable to that of any high-end restaurant I have opened onshore.”
MSC Splendida is the largest and most modern cruise ship MSC Cruises have ever homeported in Dubai.
With Splendida’s deployment to China in mind, the cruise line is also introducing a number of features to make her more homely for the Asian market.
MSC is also developing a customized “MSC for Me” program for the Chinese market in collaboration with Deloitte, to suit the likes of the new age Chinese customers.
MSC also announced a new China ambassador as well: Liu Ye, a Chinese actor, and his wife Anais Martane.
Among the big news is a new artificial intelligence translation installation across the ship, which will utlise the Wi-Fi network to help guests and crew communicate. The system has been developed in conjunction with Baidu, a leading Chinese search engine, and Tuge, a technology outfit.
“Traditional translation devices require the user to input their choice of language, but this new system will automatically identify the languages spoken and to be translated. We hope it will allow guests to interact seamlessly with the multi-national crew onboard,” said Heng Zhang, founder and CEO of Tuge.
“MSC is the first cruise in the world to have an artificial intelligence translation system aboard. And we are still researching how to use it optimally for our Chinese guests onboard MSC Splendida next year,” said Helen Huang, president of Greater China for MSC.
Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to MSC Cruises to find out if the translation system will also support Arabic to make communication easier for Middle East passengers during the winter season.
MSC Splendida will depart from Dubai in March 2018 and travel along the Silk Road maritime route to arrive in Shanghai next May.