MSC Cruises’ flagship, MSC Grandiosa, departed Genoa on 16 August and is the first major cruise ship in five months to return to Mediterranean waters.
Cruise fanatics are celebrating after the first major cruise ship has disembarked for the Mediterranean in almost five months.
Sunday 16 August saw MSC’s flagship, MSC Grandiosa, set sail from the Italian city of Genoa, on its way to Rome, Naples, Palermo, and Valetta, on a seven-day voyage.
The cruise line has stated that all passengers and crew have been tested for COVID-19 before boarding and the MSC Grandiosa will be operating at 70% capacity, to ensure safety protocols.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), this is the first step towards rebooting an industry that generates an estimated USD $150bn for the world economy.
“During the pause in our operations we focused on developing a comprehensive operating protocol that builds upon already stringent health and safety measures that have long been in place onboard our ships.”
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman
“We have worked closely with the relevant EU-level, national health and other authorities from the countries that MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica will call along their Mediterranean itineraries to develop a comprehensive set of procedures designed to protect the health and safety of all passengers on board our ships as well as ashore to ensure that local communities feel comfortable welcoming our guests,” Pierfrancesco Vago continued.
For the initial phase of the restart of operations, the two MSC Cruises ships operating in the Mediterranean for the current European summer season will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries.
MSC Grandiosa will offer seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean calling at the Italian ports of Genoa, Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Palermo, and Valetta.
MSC Magnifica will offer seven-night cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean departing from the Italian ports of Bari and Trieste, calling at the Greek ports of Corfu, Katakolon and Piraeus (Athens).
The two ships will be the first to implement a new comprehensive health and safety protocol that has been approved by the relevant national authorities from the countries that the ships will call along their East and West Mediterranean itineraries this summer.
MSC Cruises’ new operating protocol has been designed to protect the health and safety of guests, crew as well as the local communities that the Company’s ships visit.
MSC Cruises has cancelled all other cruises in the Mediterranean from 16 August through to and including 31 October.
MSC Cruises also announced the cancellation of all U.S cruise departures up to and including the 31 October and this is in line with the announcement that CLIA members will voluntarily extend the suspension of cruise operations to this date.
“This proactive action further demonstrates the cruise industry’s commitment to public health and willingness to voluntarily suspend operations in the interest of public health and safety, as has occurred twice prior.”
MSC Cruises will only restart operations in the U.S only when the time is right, following approval by the CDC and other relevant authorities across the region in observance of their requirements and guidelines.
MSC Cruises has also cancelled the Far East cruises from 10 September through to and including 26 October.
For all cancelled cruises guests will receive a 125% Future Cruise Credit.
This announcement follows the confirmation of full details of MSC Cruises programmes starting in late October this year through to November 2021, covering the European Winter 2020/2021 and the European Summer 2021 seasons.
Ships will offer guests itineraries across all the regions traditionally served by MSC Cruises in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, South Africa, South America and Asia.
Click here for more information.
Share this story