(1:22 p.m. EST) -- MSC Cruises has been forced to delay the inaugural voyage of its flagship MSC Grandiosa by three days due to a massive storm forming in the Bay of Biscay.
The line's flagship vessel, which was launched just three days ago in Hamburg, will sit out the storm in Southampton until Friday, November 15.
The delay will mean the ship will skip Lisbon and arrive in Barcelona a day late, on November 19. It will also arrive at Marseille a day later than planned (on November 21) as it makes its way to its homeport of Genoa, where it is due to arrive on November 23.
A statement from the line said, "Due to adverse weather conditions along the Atlantic Coast of France and the Iberian peninsula, we are required to alter the route and sailing schedule of MSC Grandiosa. We will be extending our stay in Southampton till Friday November 15th from where we will depart at 14:00." An earlier statement referenced a weather warning by the MET Office predicting nine-metre (30 feet) swells in the Bay of Biscay.
The news first broke on the Cruise Critic message boards with a post by welshy74. He wrote, "Boarding MSC Grandiosa on Wednesday for the maiden voyage to the Med. However that means crossing the Bay Of Biscay where a storm is forecast!! The forecast is for high seas with possible 30ft waves. Has anyone been on the sister ships in such storm? Am I about to have the journey from hell??"
He then added this morning (once the captain had announced it), "It's official…the ship will not leave Southampton til Friday morning!! So I have two days in Southampton instead of two days in Lisbon…errr…yey! Oh well…will just enjoy what the ship has to offer."
The 6,000-passenger ship was christened by screen legend Sophia Loren on Saturday night, in a glittering ceremony in Hamburg.
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It boasts a number of firsts, including:
- The longest LED screen at sea in the main promenade
- Two original new shows from Cirque du Soleil at Sea
- An immersive art experience featuring etchings from Edgar Degas' Danse Dessin series
MSC claims the ship is one of the most environmentally friendly megaships at sea, and Grandiosa includes a number of cutting-edge technologies to reduce emissions and waste. The line has pledged to become the first carbon-neutral cruise line by January 1, 2020.