MSC Cruises’ MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica will resume operations in the Mediterranean beginning Aug. 16 and Aug. 29, 2020 respectively, offering five different destinations during a seven-night cruise.
The two ships will be the first to implement a new comprehensive health and safety protocol that has been approved by the relevant national authorities from the countries that the ships will call along their East and West Mediterranean itineraries this summer.
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman said: “During the pause in our operations we focused on developing a comprehensive operating protocol that builds upon already stringent health and safety measures that have long been in place on board our ships. We have worked closely with the relevant EU-level, national health and other authorities from the countries that MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica will call along their Mediterranean itineraries to develop a comprehensive set of procedures designed to protect the health and safety of all passengers on board our ships as well as ashore to ensure that local communities feel comfortable welcoming our guests.”
Pierfrancesco Vago continued: “The new procedures include universal COVID-19 testing for all guests and crew prior to embarkation, protected ashore visits at each destination only with an MSC Cruises excursion as an added level of protection for our guests and the introduction of a COVID-19 Protection Plan for further peace of mind for our guests. With all of these measures in place, we aim to offer our guests the safest possible holiday.”
MSC Grandiosa, the company’s flagship, will offer seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean calling at the Italian ports of Genoa, Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo and Valetta.
MSC Magnifica will offer seven-night cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean departing from the Italian ports of Bari and Trieste, calling at the Greek ports of Corfu, Katakolon and Piraeus.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO said: “We are very pleased to be able to start welcoming back guests for full-experience cruise holidays this summer, on board two of our most popular ships including our flagship MSC Grandiosa, and in the Mediterranean, the very region where our Company’s roots are and where we have long been market leaders.”
For this initial phase of the restart of operations, the two MSC Cruises ships operating in the Mediterranean for the current summer season will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries.
Additionally, their 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.
However, MSC Cruises has cancelled all other cruises in the Mediterranean from Aug. 16 through to and including Oct. 31.
Guests who are resident in Schengen countries, and subject to any restrictions imposed by the Italian authorities, booked on any MSC Cruises itinerary until Oct. 31 can transfer their booking to either MSC Grandiosa or MSC Magnifica, receiving up to three complimentary shore excursions, depending on the category they book; alternatively, they will be offered a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) that they can use on any ship with any itinerary in the MSC Cruises fleet sailing through to December 2021.
Also, any other guests who are resident in Schengen countries, and subject to any restrictions imposed by the Italian authorities, who already have an FCC voucher from previous cancelled cruises can also use their voucher on these two ships taking advantage of up to three complimentary shore excursions.
For non-Schengen residents, they will automatically be eligible for an FCC plus that can be used to transfer any such bookings at no cost, to any ship with any itinerary in the MSC Cruises fleet sailing through to December 2021.
As well, MSC Cruises also announced the cancellation of all U.S cruise departures up to and including Oct. 31, in line with the announcement that CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) members will voluntarily extend the suspension of cruise operations to this date.
And finally, MSC Cruises also cancelled the Far East cruises from Sept. 10 through to and including Oct. 26.
Guests booked through MSC Cruises Canada on Mediterranean sailings between Aug. 16 and Oct. 31, Caribbean sailings between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31 and impacted Far East cruises through Oct. 26, will receive a 125% Future Cruise Credit of the original cruise fare to be used on a sailing on or before Dec. 31, 2021. Guests booked through a Canadian tour operator should contact them directly as their terms may vary.
The announcement follows the confirmation of full details of MSC Cruises’ programs between November this year and November 2021, covering the Fall and Winter 2020/2021 and the Spring, Summer and Fall 2021 seasons.
Ships will offer guests itineraries across all the regions traditionally served by MSC Cruises in the Caribbean, the Antilles, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Gulf, South Africa, South America and Asia.
Beyond the summer itineraries that it announced, MSC Cruises is following the evolution of the pandemic and gradual introduction of other ships coming into service if possible, during this same summer period.
Sail on over to https://www.msccruises.com/ for more.