MSC Cruises sails again after festive season layoff

MSC Grandiosa, Swiss-based MSC Cruises’ flagship, departed last night (January 24) from the port of Genoa in Italy to resume as planned regular 7-night cruises in the Mediterranean after a short pause of operations during the holiday period.

The ship had temporarily suspended her sailing as a result of the Italian decree that restricted movement within the country. MSC Grandiosa first welcomed guests back on board in August 2020 and the company says that feedback from the more than 30,000 guests who have boarded so far has been extremely positive, so much so that some guests have been choosing to extend their stay on board by one or more weeks. It added that its health and safety protocol helped to set the standard for the industry and reemphasised its safety record.

The protocol, which is unique in the hospitality industry and has been approved by national authorities in Italy, Greece and Malta, is 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 the company with the support of international experts and approved by the relevant authorities in the countries visited by MSC Cruises ships 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. 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 bubble on board the ship, guests only go ashore as part of protected shore excursions, so that they can be protected even while ashore by measures similar to those on board.

MSC Grandiosa, launched in November 2019, offers a wide range of experiences for guests. The company says that whilst on board, guests can relax with total peace of mind and safely enjoy a range of different activities, all adapted to meet the current health and safety measures, whilst still allowing guests to have a memorable and rich experience.