Cruising the Mediterranean during COVID-19 the Swiss way
The Risk for going on a Mediterranean Cruise tested by MSC
How bad of a risk is it to cruise during Coronavirus? MSC Cruise line wanted to know and announced the company was back in business. On Sunday MSC Cruise ship passengers were having their temperatures checked so they could set sail on what is being billed as the first Mediterranean cruise after Italy’s pandemic lockdown. The crew spent time in quarantine before the start of the cruise.
The Grandiosa, MSC’s flagship took off to take passenger on a dream cruise to Naples, Palermo, Sicily, and Valletta, Malta.
MSC Cruises, which has grown by 800% since 2004, carried 2.4 million guests in 2018 and reported strong financial results with a turnover of €2.7 billion – until Coronavirus hit.
According to the MSC website the company is the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America, and southern Africa. Our ships sail year-round in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, and our seasonal itineraries include Northern Europe, South America, South Africa, China, and Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar.
MSC Cruises is a Swiss-based European company with deep Mediterranean roots employing over 30,000 staff globally and selling cruise holidays in 69 countries around the world.
MSC, a has made the procedures, for the crew as well as passengers, part of its new health and safety protocols. The MSC Grandiosa, which was christened last year, was scheduled to depart from the northern Italian port of Genoa on Sunday evening for a seven-night cruise in the western Mediterranean.
Anyone testing positive, or with a fever, or having other COVID-19 symptoms will be denied boarding, the company said. Guests must wear face masks in elevators and other areas where social distancing is not possible.
Earlier this month, the Italian government gave its approval for cruise ships to once again depart from Italy’s ports. But cruise ships are being limited to 70 percent capacity.
MSC declined to say how many passengers were sailing on this cruise.
Malta is one of four Mediterranean countries that Italy now requires travelers arriving from to have COVID-19 tests. For now, MSC is limiting its guests to those who are residents of Europe’s 26-nation Schengen visa free travel zone.
MSC said every guest and crew member on board will be given a wristband that ‘facilitates contactless transactions around the ship as well as providing contact and proximity tracing.’
Cruise ships and the business they bring to many Italian cities during port excursions make up an important segment of Italy’s important tourism industry.