MSC Cruises is planning a summer 2020 restart of its operations, but not for passengers from the UK and Ireland.
The cruise line has revealed it’s planning a two-ship restart in the Mediterranean this month.
The resumption of operations comes after the cruise line implemented a host of new health and safety protocols, which have been reviewed by ports including Greece and Malta.
MSC’s potential restart will see flagship MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica welcome Schengen (EU) residents on board cruises around the Mediterranean on week-long itineraries.
MSC Grandiosa will sail seven-night cruises in the western Mediterranean while MSC Magnifica will sail itineraries around the eastern Mediterranean.
While the cruise line is planning these voyages, they have not yet been approved. Dates for the cruises will only be set upon approval of the sailings.
MSC Cruises is planning for a full restart of its sailings on 31 October 2020, but has not yet released any details of itineraries.
MSC Cruises UK & Ireland managing director Antonio Paradiso, said:
“Whilst 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 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.”
New health and safety protocols include a testing system for guests before embarkation, daily testing of the passengers and crew and reduced passenger numbers.
Ships will sail with only 70 per cent capacity, allowing for more social distancing, and face masks will be required on board the ship. MSC Cruises will provide passengers with face masks on a daily basis.
The cruise line has also added new medical staff and equipment to its ships and is offering passengers a special ‘Covid-19 Protection Plan’, covering medical expenses during and after the cruise if infection occurs.