The MSC Grandiosa departed Genoa on Sunday night for the start of MSC’s first cruise since it paused operations in March due to COVID-19.
Sailing with trimmed occupancy and 10 percent of staterooms set aside for isolation, MSC’s flagship will visit Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo and Valletta.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO commented: “It is a real pleasure for me to be here and sail on board the first of our ships to return to service and to be able to welcome back our guests. Our main goal during these last months has been to put in place the right measures that will protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit. But at the same time, we have worked to ensure that we are able to provide our guests with a cruise holiday that they can enjoy and still experience all of the elements that they know and love from entertainment and activities on board through to protected ashore visits.”
MSC becomes the third big-ship line to restart operations, following TUI Cruises, which restarted from Germany in July, and Dream Cruises, sailing in Taiwan.
In addition, MSC clarified it 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
A second MSC ship, the MSC Magnifica, will debut into operation later this month sailing cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean.
Among health protocols are universal health screening of guests prior to embarkation that comprises three comprehensive steps: a temperature check, a health questionnaire and a COVID-19 swab test. Depending on the screening results and according to the guest’s medical or travel history, a secondary health screening or testing will take place. Any guest who tests positive, displays symptoms or a temperature will be denied boarding.
The ship will also see elevated sanitation and cleaning measures supported by the introduction of new cleaning methods, the use of hospital-grade disinfectant products and the sanitation of the air on board with UV-C light technology that kills 99.97% of microbes.
Ongoing health monitoring will also be conducted throughout the cruise. Guests and crew will have their temperature checked daily either when they return from ashore or at dedicated stations around the ship to monitor the health status of every guest and crew member.
Guests and crew will only go ashore as part of an organized MSC excursion.