MSC Cruises is preparing to restart sailings in the Mediterranean this summer, subject to final approvals, the line has confirmed.
The Geneva-based operator said that MSC Grandiosa will offer seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean and MSC Magnifica will serve the East Mediterranean.
MSC said “actual departure dates will be determined in accordance with the guidelines received by the relevant authorities” but reports suggest Grandiosa will resume sailing on August 16 and Magnifica will resume sailings on August 22.
It said the itineraries include Greece and Malta where the authorities have reopened their ports to cruise ships and have approved its health and safety protocols. You can watch a brief overview of these safety measures below:
MSC said these protocols will support a winter restart with 14 ships sailing from October 31, 2020 as well as a potential summer restart in the Mediterranean.
The two ships operating in the Mediterranean for the current summer season will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries – meaning Britons won’t be able to get on board.
On July 16, MSC announced a further suspension of its Mediterranean sailings, taking it through to August 15.
Caribbean cruises were halted until September 30, Northern Europe cruises until October 23, Canada and New England cruises until October 31and Asia cruises until September 6.
MSC Cruises UK & Ireland MD Antonio Paradiso said: “MSC Cruises restart in the Mediterranean would be a huge step forward both for the Company and the cruise industry as a whole. We have been working tirelessly for months with our task force, blue-ribbon COVID Expert Group as well as government organisations, and Clia to ensure that any restart to operations is accompanied by health and safety operating protocol that both builds upon already stringent health and safety measures that have long been in place on board our ships, as well as meeting and often exceeding guidelines provided by key international and regional regulatory and technical bodies.”
For agent partners, he said: “While UK & Irish guests aren’t yet able to cruise with us, there are some great opportunities available for UK & Irish agents for cruises this winter and into Summer 2021. We have 14 ships sailing in winter 20/21 increasing to 19 ships by August 2021 visiting destinations across the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Northern Europe and South Africa and South America, as well as some excellent value Grand Voyages. With flexible booking conditions, low deposits and offers for kids to sail free of charge on selected sailings we hope that the restart announcement coupled with sharing our stringent and robust health and safety operating protocol will inspire confidence in consumers who will seek out travel agents for further information and ultimately to book a cruise holiday.”
He added: “While there is no doubt it’s been a very tough year for the whole travel industry we feel that cruise has adapted incredibly well to these challenges which our summer restart and new health and safety operating protocol is evidence of. Cruising is a unique and exciting holiday choice and whilst we have made some changes to the cruise product in order to safeguard our passengers, crew and the communities that we visit we are confident that we can still provide the great holiday experience MSC Cruises guests know and love.”