A group of 13 French tourists were denied boarding to the MSC Grandiosa as it sailed from Genoa earlier this week, after one of the party failed a swab test prior to embarkation, Italian media report.
According to ShipMag, the group of French tourists had travelled to Genoa together by minibus and after one of them tested positive both for an antigen swab test and for a PCR test, the entire group was denied boarding.
According to the MSC health and safety protocol, passengers that test positive for a rapid antigen test, which identifies whether a person has antibodies to the disease, are then referred for a PCR test that identifies whether a person is currently a carrier of the virus. Passengers testing positive for the PCR test are denied embarkation to the voyage.
MSC has an insurance policy that covers the expenses already incurred by passengers who test positive “before, during, and even after the cruise.”
After the incident the Grandiosa departed for Civitavecchia with about 650 passengers on board, with more due to board at the port near Rome.
MSC has an insurance policy that covers the expenses already incurred by passengers who test positiveThe journey is the second from Genoa aboard the Grandiosa since MSC successfully resumed cruise operations last week.
The online journal Il Secolo XIX reported that prior to last week’s voyage, the first since the lockdown in mid-March, five passengers tested positive for the first swab, but then tested negative for the PCR swab, and were allowed to board.
MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said the company’s health protocols left “nothing to chance.”
“The highest priority is the protection of the health of cruise passengers and crew, but we cannot forget the right to vacation and leisure. This is why the double test was introduced; it is a practice that protects both the passenger and the crew,” Onorato said.
In another incident during the Grandiosa’s voyage last week, an Italian family was denied reboarding after breaking from an organized shore excursion during a call at the port of Naples. A spokesperson said that MSC was forced to deny re-embarkation to the family after it broke from the ‘social bubble’ created for them and all other guests.
MSC postpones Magnifica cruise restart
Meanwhile, MSC has announced that it is postponing the restart of MSC Magnifica until 26 September as due to the recent introduction of testing measures for Italian residents returning from Greece, where the ship was due to sail, it had seen cancellations and a softening in demand.
As a result, departures on MSC Magnifica from August 29 to September 19 have been canceled and the first cruise will depart from Bari, Italy with an unchanged itinerary on September 26.
Carnival’s Costa Cruises to test all passengers
Meanwhile, Carnival Corporation’s Italian subsidiary is to test all passengers for COVID-19 prior to embarkation, when it resumes services in September.
In a statement, August 25, Costa Cruises said that it would perform antigenic Covid-19 swab tests for all passengers prior to embarkation as part of its recently announced health and safety protocol, which will also include health screenings and temperature checks at every access and exit to the ship, as well as physical distancing, reduced capacity and the wearing of masks in public spaces.