MSC says it expects to start cruising with two ships in the Mediterranean this summer - sorry, North Americans! It's for Europeans only!
We don't know if the recent COVID cases on several other cruise lines' ships that have started sailing again in 'bubble' style - limited in geography and with guests from the same or adjacent locations - will delay MSC's restarting to cruise. Wisely, no dates have yet been announced.
But what has been announced is the line's new health and safety measures, along with this very helpful graphic video that illustrates exactly what guests can expect when MSC sails again. It reflects what other cruise lines have announced as well.
In a webinar this week, MSC's CEO, Gianni Onorato, told travel media:
"We have devised a health and safety protocol that not only reflects the guidelines issued by various authorities and government entities in the countries where we will first restart, but we also go above and beyond the guidelines that have been set.
Our approach has been holistic, looking at the entire consumer journey, from the moment they book — providing transparent information on the terms and conditions of being on board and educating them on what to expect given the current situation with the pandemic; to the experience whilst on board, that will require new health and safety measures but still be full of relaxation and excitement; to disembarkation and their return home.
The protocol can be primarily summarized into 4 key pillars:
- First, prevention, which includes universal screening of every single person – both passengers and crew – before joining the ship. We want our guests to feel healthy when they join the ship, and they need to know that all other guests feel the same.
- Second, is daily monitoring and the presence of a qualified and highly trained medical staff with fully equipped medical facilities and testing machines able to detect the virus. A detailed contingency response plan is in place to deal with a suspected case, in full collaboration with the authorities.
- Third, is the health and safety of our guests when they visit ports of call, which is why they will only be able to disembark when participating in tours organized by MSC Cruises. This way, we can ensure the same high standards of health, safety and hygiene on board as well as ashore.
- Last, it is about preserving the cruise experience. Our new procedures designed to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew but we have worked hard to still offer an enjoyable and rich experience as MSC Cruises has always done."