MSC Cruises outlines company’s health and safety protocols

MSC Cruises outlines company’s health and safety protocols
MSC Cruises
MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica are being prepared to return to service in the Mediterranean

MSC Cruises has outlined the company’s new health and safety protocols, developed to protect the health and safety of guests, crew and local communities following the resumption of sailing in the Mediterranean.

The cruise line is preparing for a possible restart this summer, with MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica being readied for deployment. MSC Grandiosa will offer seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean, while MSC Magnifica will serve the East Mediterranean, with departure dates determined in accordance with guidelines from the relevant authorities. The two ships will only welcome guests that reside in countries which are part of the Schengen Area, the group of 27 European countries in which people can move freely across borders.

The cruise line has set up a dedicated task force with the involvement of independent medical experts to develop specific operating procedures, working closely with the authorities in the countries at which its ships will call. The protocol has been verified by maritime certification corporation Registro Italiano Navale (RINA) as sufficient to meet the European Maritime Safety Agency guidance, which incorporates health standards from the EU Healthy Gateways Joint Action.

The new procedures include universal Covid-19 testing for all guests and crew prior to embarkation, protected visits onshore and the introduction of a Covid Protection Plan to provide coverage for guests if they become infected before, during or after the cruise. Enhanced sanitation and cleaning measures will be introduced, with the use of hospital-grade disinfectant products and UV-C light technology. Capacity onboard will be reduced to 70 per cent, allowing for 10 metres squared of space per passenger. In places where social distancing is not possible, such as in lifts, guests will be asked to wear a face mask, which will be provided daily to guests in their cabins and will be available around the ship.

Ongoing health monitoring will also be conducted throughout a cruise. Guests and crew will have their temperature checked daily either when they return from onshore trips or at dedicated stations around the ship. Guests will only be allowed to go onshore as part of an excursion organised by MSC Cruises, with tour guides and drivers undergoing health screening and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

The new health measures will also be supported by technology to facilitate a contactless experience and provide guests with important information. For guests onboard both ships, the MSC for Me app can be used to book services, manage their daily activities and source information. Additionally, guests will be provided with a complimentary MSC for Me wristband, which facilitates contactless transaction around the ship, as well as providing contact and proximity tracing.

Guests will also be able to attend a programme of onboard activities and entertainment redesigned for smaller group sizes. New spaces will be designated for children, with youth areas operating at reduced capacity. Social distancing will also be implemented at restaurants, while the buffet restaurant will feature a new service concept allowing guests to select what they want and have it plated and handed to them.

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
04 August 2020

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