In a world full of mixed coronavirus news – vaccines good, variants bad – one cruise company stands out for leading the way toward a return to something resembling normal. MSC Cruises says its “rigorous health and safety protocol makes these voyages one of the safest vacation options thanks to the safe environment on board for guests and crew.”
The company’s flagship, MSC Grandiosa, departed last night from the port of Genoa in Italy to resume planned regular 7-night cruises in the Mediterranean after a short pause of operations during the holiday period. The ship had temporarily suspended sailings as a result of the Italian decree that restricted movement within the country.
MSC Grandiosa first welcomed guests back on board in August 2020. The company says that feedback from the more than 30,000 guests who have sailed so far on board has been “extremely positive, so much so that some guests have been choosing to extend their stay on board by one or more weeks.”
MSC’s protocols are being used as the basis to inform and support plans to restart cruising in other parts of the world. Prior to embarkation, all guests pass through a series of health checks, including COVID-19 testing for all guests and crew, as part of MSC Cruises comprehensive health and safety protocol, devised by MSC with the support of international experts and approved by the relevant authorities in the countries visited by MSC Cruises currently or due to be at sea. The health and safety measures also include a dedicated response plan that can be activated in collaboration with the authorities.
MSC Cruises’ health and safety protocol has been designed to respond to the situation ashore even while it evolves and since November last year, some of the measures were enhanced including the introduction of mid-cruise testing for guests and weekly testing for crew as well as further enhanced hygiene and sanitation measures and the.
Everyone on board observes social distancing as well as wearing masks in public areas, and the guest technology has been leveraged to facilitate onboard contact tracing. To preserve a safe environment on board the ship, guests only go ashore as part of protected shore excursions so that guests can be protected even while ashore by measures similar to those on board.
Over on our river cruise site, the majority of our readers who responded to a survey we conducted last week, expect river cruising for North Americans to resume by or during the fall of 2021. See Your Thoughts On When We Will River Cruise In Europe Again