The Malta Independent 19 September 2020, Saturday

MSC Cruises to reopen Med routes, including to Malta, after authorities give thumbs up

Sunday, 9 August 2020, 13:54 Last update: about 2 months ago

MSC Cruises will restart some Mediterranean routes, including one which passes through Malta, from 16 August after getting the green light from all the relevant national authorities.

The MSC flagship MSC Grandiosa and the MSC Magnifica will resume operations in the Mediterranean starting from 16 and 29 August respectively, with MSC saying that they will be offering guests full-experience cruise holidays with the opportunity to discover five different destinations during a 7-night cruise.

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“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”, MSC said in a statement on Sunday.

The MSC Grandiosa will offer seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean calling at the Italian ports of Genoa, Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo and Valletta.

MSC Magnifica meanwhile 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.

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, the cruise giants said.

“Additionally, their itineraries have been designed according to the accessibility of the ports, reducing where possible, the need for guests to use of public transport or flights and have been planned in conjunction with the authorities.”

All other MSC cruises in the Mediterranean from 16 August through to 31 October, MSC said.

Guests who are resident in Schengen countries and subject to any restrictions imposed by the Italian authorities, booked on any MSC Cruises itinerary until 31 October 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.

 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.

All MSC US and Far East cruise departures have been cancelled as well, MSC 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”, Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, said.

“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”, he 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 added level of protection for our guests and the introduction of a COVID 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”, Vago concluded.

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