MSC Grandiosa became the first ship in the MSC Cruises fleet to return to sea following a sailing suspension due to Covid-19, reports Shauna McCrudden
With new lockdown restrictions being introduced and a potential extended closure for some businesses, it can be easy to feel somewhat defeated right now. Which is why it’s great to hear of a travel business doing well!
On Sunday, the MSC Grandiosa became the first ship from the MSC Cruises fleet to welcome guests back onboard and the first ship to implement the company’s health and safety protocol. The flagship departed from Genoa, Italy for its first seven-night cruise in West Mediterranean.
Guests arrived at the cruise terminal according to their allocated time slots and followed the new universal screening procedures. These include a temperature check, medical review of a health questionnaire and an antigen Covid-19 swab test for every guest prior to boarding. After completing these steps and having received the results of the test while in the terminal, guests that were fit to travel then embarked the ship after sanitising both hands and hold luggage.
“It is a real pleasure for me to sail onboard the first of our ships to return to service and to be able to welcome back our guests,” says Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO. “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.”
Health and safety measures
All guests received a complimentary MSC for Me wristband, which provides them with contactless options whilst onboard, such as opening the cabin or making payments, and 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 three 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.
Following this first embarkment, more guests will also set off in the ports of Naples and Palermo and then the ship will call at Valetta in Malta, before returning to Genoa this coming Sunday. Along the ship’s itinerary, guests will be able to go ashore to enjoy the different ports of call, but only as part of an MSC Cruises’ shore excursion. This allows an added level of protection so that their experience ashore follows the same high standards of health and safety as onboard. For example, when visiting Rome, guests will travel on sanitised transfers with social distancing in place accompanied by tour guides and drivers who are also adhering to strict health and safety measures.
Gianni says, “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 onboard, through to protected shore visits.”
For this initial phase of the restart of operations, the two MSC Cruises ships operating in the Mediterranean – the second being MSC Magnifica in the East Mediterranean – for the current summer season will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries.
For more information about MSC Grandiosa as well as the new health and safety measures in place, visit msccruises.co.uk
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