GENEVA — Passengers boarding the MSC Grandiosa in Genoa, Italy this week were the first guests to be welcomed back onboard since the cruise line paused operations due to COVID-19.
The ship, which departed Genoa on Aug. 16, is the first vessel in MSC Cruises fleet to resume operations and the first ship to implement the company’s new protocols.
Guests arrived at the cruise terminal during allocated time slots and followed the new universal screening procedures according to the company’s own health and safety protocol, which includes 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 who were fit to travel then embarked the ship according to the new health and safety procedures, which includes sanitation of both hand and hold luggage.
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 be regularly tested and their health monitored.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO commented, “It is a real pleasure for me to be here and sail onboard 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 onboard through to protected ashore visits.”
Following the embarkation of the new guests in Civitavecchia, more guests will also embark in the ports of Naples and Palermo. The ship will then call at Valetta in Malta before returning to Genoa on Sunday. Along the ship’s itinerary, guests will be able to go ashore to enjoy the different ports of call, but with an added level of protection such as sanitized transfers with social distancing in place accompanied by tour guides and drivers who are also adhering to strict health and safety measures.
For this initial phase of the restart of operations this summer, the two MSC Cruises ships operating in the Mediterranean – the second being MSC Magnifica in the East Mediterranean – will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries.
For more information go to msccruises.ca.