MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, South America, South Africa and the Gulf, today announced a further extension of the highly successful partnership with two Michelin-starred Spanish chef Ramón Freixa. Two more HOLA! Tapas Bar restaurants will open on board MSC Meraviglia in May and on MSC Grandiosa when the new ship launches later this year.

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Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, comments, “We have a number of criteria for finding the right chefs to partner with. Firstly, we look for a chef who brings industry-leading expertise in their respective cuisines and will offer something outstanding for our guests to enhance their dining experience on board our ships. Secondly, we aim to work with chefs who share the same values as us. Ramon not only embodies excellence in Spanish gastronomy with an innovative and modern style, but he also shares with us a passion for Mediterranean cuisine. It is a true collaboration with Ramon and we are delighted to further extend this successful partnership so that more guests can experience his vision.”

Freixa is part of an impressive line-up of top international chefs that includes renowned German chef Harald Wohlfahrt – who held a three-Michelin Star rating for 25 years in a row – two Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc, innovative pan-Asian chef Roy Yamaguchi, award-winning pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury and acclaimed Chinese chef Jereme Leung. Each of these talents represent some of the world’s most-loved cuisines, with their own distinct style and vision, creating a memorable fine-dining experience for guests across the fleet.

Ramón Freixa comments, “”I am very happy to extend the HOLA! Tapas Bar concept to two more ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet, allowing guests from all over the world to enjoy a true taste of Spain through appetising tapas in our cheerful bar atmosphere – it is a wonderful way to celebrate the Mediterranean style of life.”

Guests sailing with MSC Cruises over the last year have already been able to experience Ramon’s innovative gastronomy in a number of ways:

  • An exquisite Elegant Dinner dish in the main restaurants across MSC Cruises’ fleet
  • Exclusive tapas items and a signature dish for MSC Yacht Club guests across the fleet
  • His first restaurant at sea, Ocean Cay by Ramón Freixa, opened onboard MSC Seaview in 2018, offering guests luxury fish and shellfish in this speciality restaurant
  • Special menus for selected ships for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve celebrations


Located on the bustling Mediterranean-style promenade at the heart of the Meraviglia class ships, the HOLA! Tapas Bar concept has been designed to offer a social and warm dining experience where guests can enjoy a range of traditional and modern shared plates and small bites inspired by some of Spain’s most popular dishes.

With an open environment containing a mixture of communal and individual seating, guests can savour a quick bite, a glass of Spanish wine, or enjoy a full meal. Some of the menu highlights include authentic Spanish tortilla; olive, anchovy & pepper Gilda; and for those with a sweet-tooth, the quintessential Catalan dessert: Catalan Cream.


Ramón Freixa’s sumptuously bold creations have won worldwide recognition, with multiple awards for best chef and best restaurant, two Michelin stars, three Repsol Suns and a host appearance in the 2016 Spanish Celebrity MasterChef final.

Chef Freixa first joined MSC Cruises’ Top Chef Dining Programme in 2018, and over the last year has brought guests a number of different dining experiences influenced by his experience in Spanish gastronomy, including Elegant Dinner dishes, exclusive Tapas and restaurants Ocean Cay and HOLA! Tapas Bar.

Chef Freixa’s creations follow a distinctive approach that he describes as “based on three elements: produce, technique and feeling, plus a search for magic.” Every dish is conceived to tell a story in sequences of flavour, texture and colour.

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