(4:20 p.m. GMT) -- MSC Cruises will likely stretch and "massively enhance" one of its existing ships ahead of a 2021 deployment in the UK.While the line would not reveal the name of the ship, it is likely to be the one currently serving the UK market, MSC Preziosa.MSC first revealed the plans to operate a full UK season in 2021, when it signed a partnership agreement with Chelsea FC in November. At present, it just offers 10 sailings from Southampton over a short summer season.Speaking onboard the line's newest ship, MSC Bellissima, UK MD Antonio Paradiso said: "We are working on some really exciting projects for the future and this includes some ex-UK sailings."It's still early stages but we are working on some brand-new itineraries for 2021 that will give more choice and more variety to our UK customers, because we will have different length itineraries."So we will have 14-nighters, 12-nighters, 10-nighters, seven-nighters catering for different types of customers."The ship will not be a new vessel, but will be "subject to a 'massive enhancement' which could potentially include a stretching," he added.It could include a number of the new features introduced on Meraviglia- and Seaside-class ships such as restaurants, as well as new-to-the-fleet features, Mr Paradiso said.MSC Bellissima was handed over to the line yesterday at the shipyard in France and set sail for Southampton ahead of its naming ceremony last night. It will stay in Southampton over the weekend, before setting sail on its maiden voyage on Monday to Genoa.Bellissima is already MSC's top selling ship in the UK market -- by far -- with 25,000 passengers booked for this year. A number of those passengers have booked Gulf cruises, where the ship will be based this winter:"There are 30 percent more people booked on Emirates cruises than there were on MSC Splendida this time last year," he said.Paradiso pointed to the fact that it is a brand-new ship, with brand new features that is the driving force behind its popularity, rather than necessarily where it will be based:"What I've seen is there is a direct link between new ships and new to cruise, it's so obvious, yes, because I think it's pretty much down to the features," he added."So the more features you have on a ship, the more opportunities you have to attract new customers."
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