MSC cruise ships will add more testing and contact tracing when it restarts sailings in Europe
MSC Cruises announced it will restart cruises from Italy later this month, and there will be newly enhanced health protocols onboard.
MSC will resume cruises in the Mediterranean beginning January 24 with the MSC Grandiosa. On February 14 MSC Magnifica will also return at sea to perform her scheduled itineraries of 11 nights in Italy, Greece and Malta.
In addition to the health protocols MSC cruise ships have been using on its ships since the summer, four new measures will be added:
- Additional on-board antigen testing for COVID-19 of all guests mid-way through their cruise which are on top of the existing pre-boarding universal testing for all guests;
- Frequency of testing of all crew during their time on board increased from twice-a-month to weekly, which is in addition to pre-boarding testing for all crew and other ongoing health monitoring measures;
- Increased frequency of on-board sanitation, in particular of public areas and high touch points;
- Tightening of the definition of close contact for tracing purposes, reducing the time that individuals are in contact from 15 minutes to 10 minutes.
MSC ceased sailings in December 2020 after health rules in Italy were tightened, but the cruise line has received permission to restart.
The enhanced protocols are in addition to the other core health rules MSC has relied on before sailings had to start.
- Testing of all guests at least twice per voyage
- Testing of all crew at least three times before embarkation and weekly on board
- Only protected shore excursions, as organized ‘social bubbles’
- Ventilation with HVAC fresh air
- Contingency response that does not burden local health infrastructures
- Isolation space on board and tracking and tracing including close contacts
- Physical distancing – aided by reduced capacity of the ship
- COVID-19 prevalence monitoring
The Company's flagship will resume her planned weekly cruises leaving every Sunday from Genoa and calling the Italian ports of Civitavecchia, Naples, Palermo and Valetta in Malta, with embarkation available in each port in Italy. MSC Grandiosa will offer these itineraries until March 21, after which she will remain in the Western Mediterranean to offer cruises from the summer program with a new itinerary.
From February 14, MSC Magnifica will also resume her operation departing from Genoa for 11-night cruises designed to enable guests to discover the West and Eastern Mediterranean in Italy, Greece and Malta.