The first guests on MSC Cruises‘ return to sailing Mediterranean voyage began embarking on MSC Grandiosa on Sunday in the port of Genoa, Italy.
The ship has a capacity of 6,300 passengers and features a ship-within-a-ship luxury product, called MSC Yacht Club, itself which comprises around 90 suites. It’s understood that MSC Grandiosa will be operating with a capacity of around 70% on its restarted sailings.
Arriving at the cruise terminal based on allocated time slots, passengers followed MSC Cruises’ new universal screening procedures according to the company’s own health and safety protocol, which includes;
- a temperature check,
- medical review of a health questionnaire, and
- an antigen COVID-19 swab test for every guest prior to boarding.
After completing these steps and having received the results of the test while in the terminal, guests that were given the green light to travel, embarking on the ship according to the latest health and safety procedures, which includes sanitation of both hand and hold luggage.
Guests received a complimentary MSC for Me wristband, which provides them with contactless options whilst onboard such as opening their cabin or making payments. The wristband will also help to facilitate proximity and contact tracing if needed.
Additionally, over the past several weeks, all crew members have gone through similarly stringent health screening measures, which included 3 COVID-19 tests in various phases as well as a period of isolation before commencing their duties. Each crew member will then be regularly tested and their health monitored.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO commented: “Our main goal during these last months has been to put in place the right measures that will protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit. But at the same time, we have worked to ensure that we are able to provide our guests with a cruise holiday that they can enjoy and still experience all of the elements that they know and love from entertainment and activities onboard through to protected ashore visits.”
Following the embarkation of the new guests in Civitavecchia (Rome), more guests will also embark in the ports of Naples and Palermo and then the ship will call at Valetta in Malta, before returning to Genoa on Sunday.
Along the ship’s itinerary, guests will be able to go ashore to enjoy the different ports of call but only as part of an MSC Cruises shore excursion as an added level of protection so that their experience ashore follows the same high standards of health and safety as on board.
Some guests will visit Rome, taking in all of the attractions of the Eternal City, while travelling on sanitised transfers with social distancing in place accompanied by tour guides and drivers who are also adhering to strict health and safety measures.
For this initial phase of the restart of operations, the two MSC Cruises ships operating in the Mediterranean – the second being MSC Magnifica in the East Mediterranean – for the current summer season will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries.
Lead image (supplied): MSC Cruises