MSC Cruises announced Thursday that, given the prevailing pandemic situation in France and Germany with significant travel restrictions affecting guests from these markets, it will be temporarily suspending further sailings of MSC Magnifica. The temporary suspension will affect sailings from November 8 through and including December 18, 2020. France and Germany are two key source markets for the ship’s 10-night voyages across the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, calling destinations in Italy, Greece and Malta.
Meanwhile, MSC Grandiosa will continue and extend its current sailings into next year. The company’s flagship will perform the current seven-night itinerary in the Western Mediterranean with calls in Genoa, Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo, Italy, as well as Valletta, Malta, until March 27, 2021.
Further, MSC Grandiosa will now see the application of newly activated measures under MSC Cruises’ existing health and safety operating protocol, which include the following:
- Additional onboard testing for all guests mid-way through their cruise (on top of the existing pre-boarding universal testing for all guests)
- Increased testing of all crew during their time on board from twice-a-month to weekly (in addition to pre-boarding testing for all crew and other ongoing health monitoring measures)
- Increased frequency of onboard sanitation, in particular of public areas and high touch points
- Tightening of the definition of close contact for tracing purposes, reducing the time that individuals are in contact from 15 minutes to 10 minutes
The additional measures were activated over the past two weeks onboard the company’s two ships currently at sea.
In connection with the health situation ashore and in particular the continued unavailability of the majority of ports along the proposed itinerary, MSC Cruises has been forced to cancel its 2021 World Cruise, which was due to be performed by MSC Magnifica. Guests will be contacted separately with rescheduling options.
When MSC Magnifica resumes operation after the pause, it will continue sailing from December 18, 2020 with a one-off, eight-night Christmas cruise itinerary, then return to its current 10-night itinerary across the Eastern and Western Mediterranean until the end of April 2021.
This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.