COVID Tests & MSC Only Excursions: MSC Details Health Protocols Ahead Of Restart
Anna Kroupina, Open Jaw
MSC Grandiosawill be one of MSC’s first two ships to resume cruising, the second beingMSC Magnifica.
When MSC Cruises resumes operations in the Med later this summer, strict protocols will include pre-embarkation COVID-19 swab tests, daily temperature checks, reduced capacity and on-shore visits only permitted with MSC Cruises excursions.
Cruises will initially only be open to residents of Schengen countries.
MSC says it worked closely with a cross-functional task force including in-house experts, external medical professionals and local authorities to develop the protocols and operating procedures which exceed regional guidelines.
"MSC Cruises has worked to encompass every aspect of the guest’s journey from the moment of booking to embarkation, life on board and through to the return back home, whilst preserving the uniqueness of the guest experience," said MSC in a press statement.
MSC Cruises’ Comprehensive Health and Safety Operating Protocol Aims to Set a New Standard
MSC's new health and safety plan includes:
Universal health screening of guests prior to embarkation that includes: a temperature check, a health questionnaire and a COVID-19 swab test. Guests who test positive or display symptoms will be denied boarding. Following guidelines from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, guests travelling from countries categorized 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 also be tested for COVID-19 prior to embarkation as well as regularly during their contract.
Elevated sanitation and cleaning measures that include hospital-grade disinfectant products and the sanitation of the air on board with UV-C light technology that "kills 99.97% of microbes."
Capacity will be reduced to 70% to allow for social distancing. When social distancing is not possible, guests are asked to wear face masks, which will be provided daily to guests.
Enhanced medical facilities 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."
Ongoing health monitoring will be conducted throughout the cruise, including daily temperature checks for guests and crew. During this initial phase of operations, guests will only go ashore as part of an organised MSC Cruises excursion. Tour guides and drivers will also undergo health screening and wear appropriate PPE.
A contingency response plan will be activated if a suspected case is identified.
A redesigned embarkation procedure with digital check-in processes has been implemented with arrival timeslots to manage guest flow.
Guest-Centric Tech Underpins Health & Safety Measures
MSC Cruises says its health and safety measures are supported by industry-leading guest technology to facilitate a contactless experience wherever possible. The MSC for Me appcan be used to book services, manage daily activities on board and source information.
On MSC Grandiosa, guests and crew will be provided with a complimentary MSC for Me wristband, which facilitates contactless transactions around the ship and provides 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.
Click here for a video featuring more information on MSC Cruises’ health and safety measures.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.