MSC Grandiosa, the first large cruise ship to resume operations after the worldwide suspension of cruises, successful returned to the port of Genoa today.
The MSC Cruises vessel embarked on a 7-night itinerary last week, visiting Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Palermo and Valletta (Malta). 2,500 Europeans were onboard, around 70% of MSC Grandiosa’s usual capacity.
Before being allowed onboard, all passengers were subjected to two swabs to check for coronavirus symptoms, as well as adhering to strict health and safety guidelines.
Guests were allowed ashore, but subject to being on organised MSC excursions to ensure the safety of passengers, limit contact and manage the spread of the virus. This means passengers stay in a ‘ship bubble’ and don’t come into contact with anyone else not on board the ship.
MSC Cruises had to deny boarding to a family who decided to break the rules when in Naples, Italy, wandering off from the rest of the group to explore the city on their own.
The passengers were then not allowed to re-embark the ship, for fear of endangering other passengers and crew.
As part of MSC Cruises health and safety protocol, all guests were given a complimentary MSC for Me wristband. The device provides guests with contactless options while on board such as opening their staterooms or making payments. These wristbands will also help to facilitate proximity and contact tracing, if needed.
Additionally, over the past several weeks, all crew members have gone through similarly stringent health screening measures, which included 3 COVID-19 tests in various phases as well as a period of isolation before commencing their duties. Each crew member will then be regularly tested and their health monitored.
This first phase of the restart of operations, will see two MSC Cruises’ ships operating in the Mediterranean. MSC Magnifica will soon begin sailing the Eastern Mediterranean for the remaining summer season. These cruises will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries. British passengers are not currently allowed onboard.