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MSC Cruises’ Health & Safety Protocol, Med Restart (Schengen only) & Updated Schedule

14th August 2020 - 4:00pm

Antonio Paradiso and Gianni Onorato (CEO MSC Cruises)

Antonio Paradiso and Gianni Onorato (CEO MSC Cruises)


Gianni Onorato (CEO MSC Cruises) revealed the health and safety protocol to support the restart of operations in the Med and to protect guests, crew and local communities that MSC’s ships will visit.


“MSC Cruises has been working closely with authorities in the destinations, to develop a comprehensive protocol. A dedicated task force, with the input and support of leading external medical experts, developed a robust protocol with new MSC Cruises specific operating procedures that go beyond the actual regional and national guidelines and effectively set a new standard. Additionally, RINA, the independent maritime certification corporation, has verified that it meets the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) Guidance, which incorporates additional health standards including those from the EU Healthy Gateways Joint Action.”


New procedures include universal COVID-19 testing for guests and crew prior to embarkation, protected ashore visits only with an MSC Cruises excursion and the introduction of a COVID Protection Plan.


MSC Cruises’ extensive set of Health & Safety protocols will support a winter re-start with 14 ships sailing from 31st October 2021 as well as a summer restart in the Mediterranean.


Restart with Mediterranean Itineraries

MSC Grandiosa will offer 7-night cruises in the Western Med from 16th August and MSC Magnifica will serve the East Med from 29th August. The planned itineraries include Greece and Malta where authorities have re-opened their ports to cruising and have approved the health and safety protocol to support MSC’s restart of operations.


For this initial phase, the two MSC Cruises ships operating in the Med for the current summer season will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries. Itineraries have been designed according to the accessibility of the ports, reducing where possible, the need for guests to use public transport or flights and have been planned in conjunction with the authorities.


MSC Cruises cancelled all other cruises in the Med from 16 August through to and including 31 October.  For non-Schengen residents, they will automatically be eligible for an FCC that can be used to transfer their bookings at no cost, to any ship on any itinerary in the MSC Cruises fleet sailing through to December 2021.


MSC Cruises also announced the cancellation of all U.S cruise departures up to and including the 31 October, in line with the announcement that CLIA members will voluntarily extend the suspension of cruise operations to this date. CLIA stated that “This proactive action further demonstrates the cruise industry’s commitment to public health and willingness to voluntarily suspend operations in the interest of public health and safety, as has occurred twice prior”. MSC Cruises will only restart operations in the U.S. when the time is right, following approval by the CDC and other relevant authorities across the region in observance of their requirements and guidelines.


MSC Cruises also cancelled the Far East cruises from 10 September through to and including 26 October.


All guests affected by the latest cancellations will be contacted in due course directly by MSC Cruises or their travel agent and all their options shared with them.


Antonio Paradiso (MD MSC Cruises UK & Ireland) commented,”MSC Cruises restart in the Mediterranean would be a huge step forward both for the Company and the cruise industry as a whole. We have been working tirelessly for months with our task force, blue-ribbon COVID Expert Group as well as government organisations, and CLIA to ensure that any restart to operations is accompanied by health and safety operating protocol that both builds upon already stringent health and safety measures that have long been in place onboard our ships, as well as meeting and often exceeding guidelines provided by key international and regional regulatory and technical bodies”.


He added, “Whilst UK & Irish guests aren’t yet able to cruise with us, there are some great opportunities available for UK & Irish agents for cruises this winter and into summer 2021. We have 14 ships sailing in winter 20/21 increasing to 19 ships by August 2021 visiting destinations across the Med, Caribbean, Northern Europe and South Africa and South America, as well as some excellent value Grand Voyages. With flexible booking conditions, low deposits and offers for kids to sail free of charge on selected sailings we hope that the restart announcement coupled with sharing our stringent and robust health and safety operating protocol will inspire confidence in consumers who will seek out travel agents for further information and ultimately to book a cruise holiday”.


He added, “Whilst there is no doubt it’s been a very tough year for the whole travel industry we feel that cruise has adapted incredibly well to these challenges which our summer restart and new health and safety operating protocol is evidence of. Cruising is a unique and exciting holiday choice and whilst we have made some changes to the cruise product in order to safeguard our passengers, crew and the communities that we visit we are confident that we can still provide the great holiday experience MSC Cruises guests know and love”.


For more information on MSC Cruises’ health and safety measures as well as the guest experience visit here HERE

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