MSC Cruises Sets Sail on First Mediterranean Voyage Since COVID Shutdown

MSC Cruises set sail Sunday on what is being called the first Mediterranean voyage after Italy’s coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

All crew members and passengers on the MSC Grandiosa had their temperatures checked and underwent COVID-19 tests as part of the cruise line’s updated health and safety protocols, with anyone testing positive, registering a fever or showing symptoms being denied boarding.

MSC Cruises guests on the seven-night cruise through the western Mediterranean are also required to wear face masks in elevators and other areas where social distancing is impossible.

The MSC Grandiosa set sail from Genoa and is scheduled to visit Naples, Palermo, Sicily and Valletta, Malta, after the Italian government approved arrivals and departures from its ports, but limited the vessels to 70 percent capacity.

“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,” MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said. “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,” Onorato continued.

The company did not specify how many passengers were on the ship during the sailing, but announced it would limit passengers to residents of Europe’s 26-nation Schengen visa-free travel zone.

To assist in limiting social interactions, travelers boarding the MSC Cruises vessel were given a wristband that “facilitates contactless transactions around the ship as well as providing contact and proximity tracing.”

MSC Cruises also informed passengers they would be accompanied by a chaperone from the company when they visit shore at ports of call to ensure travelers are following proper health protocols, such as face masks and social distancing to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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