MSC Cruises suspends sailings amid Italy COVID-19 spike

MSC Cruises suspends sailings amid Italy COVID-19 spike

MSC Cruises today said Friday that it will temporarily pause the operation of MSC Grandiosa later this month and move to January the planned restart of MSC Magnifica as a result of new travel measures introduced by the Italian government for the Christmas and New Year period.

The new rules include extensive restrictions to people’s mobility across the entire country that will severely impact the ability of future guests – Italian residents, plus those from overseas – to reach any of the ships’ embarkation ports in Italy, the company said.

Coronavirus cases have spiked in the country, with deaths hitting a record since the outbreak of the pandemic as 993 fatalities were reported Wednesday, a day before the new rules were announced. 

The Italian government has said it will completely tighten the movement of its residents between regions, cities and towns in its efforts to combat the pandemic ashore between 21 December, 2020 and 6 January, 2021, which will also restrict the ability of holidaymakers from abroad to travel to, through and from Italy.

Strict MSC health protocol - pre-and-on-board testing
Strict MSC health protocol – pre-and-on-board testing
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MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica sailings cancelled

This has caused the cancellation of three future planned voyages of MSC Grandiosa and three sailings of MSC Magnifica.

MSC Grandiosa will temporarily pause her current programme of 7-night voyage sailings on 20 December in Genoa, Italy and will resume her Western Mediterranean cruises on 10 January, 2021, also from Genoa.

MSC Magnifica, which was due to re-start 10-night voyages in the West and East Mediterranean on 18 December from Genoa, will now commence its sailing programme on 15 January, 2021 following the cancellation of three previous sailings.

MSC Cruises has to date hosted more than 30,000 guests since becoming the first major line to resume operations following the global industry’s shutdown in March.

MSC Cruises in mid-August became the first major cruise line to resume sailing following the global shutdown of the industry in March caused by the pandemic ashore.

Strict MSC health protocol – pre-and-on-board testing

The company’s health protocol includes:

  • Double-buffer pre-embarkation testing for COVID-19 with additional on-board antigen testing of all guests mid-way through their cruise
  • Weekly testing of all crew in addition to triple pre-boarding testing for all crew.
  • Tightening of the definition of close contact for tracing purposes.
  • Reducing the time that individuals are in contact from 15 minutes to 10 minute.
  • Only protected shore excursions, as organised ‘social bubbles’.
  • Wearing of face masks.
  • Ventilation with HVAC fresh air.
  • Physical distancing and reduced on-board capacity.

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