MSC Cruises has revealed the full details of its new health and safety protocols, which include the company's previously announced Blue-Ribbon COVID-19 Expert Group.
The new procedures include universal COVID-19 testing for all guests and crew prior to embarkation, protected ashore visits at each destination only with an MSC Cruises excursion as an added level of protection for guests and the introduction of a COVID-19 Protection Plan for further peace of mind for guests.
With all of these measures in place MSC Cruises aims to offer guests the safest possible holiday.
Mediterranean restart this summer
MSC Cruises is preparing for a potential restart this summer in the Mediterranean, which in terms of the current development of the pandemic, is where the Company’s guests would want ships to be deployed.
While awaiting the necessary final approvals, two MSC Cruises ships are making preparations – flagship MSC Grandiosa and popular ship MSC Magnifica.
MSC Grandiosa will offer seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean and MSC Magnifica will serve the Easter Mediterranean.
Their actual departure dates will be determined in accordance with the guidelines received by the relevant authorities. The itineraries that are planned, include Greece and Malta where the authorities have re-opened their ports to cruising and have approved the health and safety protocol to support our restart of operations.
For this initial phase of the restart of operations, the two MSC Cruises ships operating in the Mediterranean for the current summer season will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries. Additionally, their itineraries have been designed according to the accessibility of the ports, reducing where possible, the need for guests to use public transport or flights and have been planned in conjunction with the authorities.
Alongside its Blue Ribbon panel, MSC Cruises engaged leading global healthcare provider Aspen Medical to further assist with the development of the protocol and operating procedures.
MSC is taking the following necessary precautions to ensure guests have a safe holiday:
- Universal health screening of guests prior to embarkation: a temperature check, a health questionnaire and a COVID-19 swab test. Depending on the screening results and according to the guest’s medical or travel history, a secondary health screening or testing will take place. Any guest who tests positive, displays symptoms or a temperature, will be denied boarding. Following guidelines from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, guests travelling from countries categorised as high risk will be required to take a molecular RT-PCR test, to be done within 72 hours prior to joining the ship. All crew members will be tested for COVID-19 prior to embarkation as well as regularly during their contract.
- Elevated sanitation and cleaning measures supported by the introduction of new cleaning methods, the use of hospital-grade disinfectant products and the sanitation of the air on board with UV-C light technology that kills 99.97% of microbes.
- Social distancing: reduction of the overall capacity of guests on board, venue capacity reduction, and smaller group activities (pre-book in advance). When social distancing is not possible, guests will be asked to wear a face mask, provided daily to guests.
- Enhanced medical facilities and services with highly-qualified and trained staff, the necessary equipment to test, evaluate and treat suspected COVID-19 patients and the availability of free treatment at the onboard Medical Center for any guest with symptoms. Dedicated isolation cabins will be available to enable isolation of any suspected cases and close contacts.
- Ongoing health monitoring will be conducted throughout the cruise. Guests and crew will have their temperature checked daily either when they return from ashore or at dedicated stations around the ship to monitor the health status of every guest and crew member. During this initial phase of operations, as a further enhanced measure of protection and to avoid risks to the health of guests and their fellow cruisers, guests will only go ashore as part of an organised MSC Cruises excursion.
- A contingency response plan will be activated if a suspected case is identified, in close cooperation with the national health authorities. The suspected case and close contacts will follow isolation measures and may be disembarked according to local and national regulations.
A redesigned embarkation procedure with digital check-in processes has also been implemented to make the process more seamless and contactless with arrival time slots to manage guest flow.
Digital tools for guests
For guests on board both ships, the MSC for Me app will support and facilitate the new health and safety measures. The app can be used to book services as well as to manage their daily activities on board and source information.
Additionally, on board MSC Grandiosa every guest and crew member will be provided with a complimentary MSC for Me wristband, which facilitates contactless transactions around the ship as well as providing contact and proximity tracing.
A new Information Centre, accessible by telephone, will allow guests to call Guest Services for information, rather than having to go to the desk in person.
For more information, visit www.msccruises.ca.
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