Cruise Hive has received a statement from MSC Cruises regarding the MSC Meraviglia being denied entry to two Caribbean cruise ports. The cruise line strongly states there are no COVID-19 cases onboard and one crew member has a common seasonal flu. MSC states the ship was basely turned away based on fears, here is the full statement:
MSC Cruises is extremely disappointed that Jamaican authorities yesterday delayed a decision for many hours to give our ship the necessary clearance to disembark guests, despite us having provided detailed medical records to the local health and national authorities ahead of its arrival as per normal protocol.
Similarly, the decision taken overnight by the Grand Cayman authorities to refuse disembarkation at Georgetown was made without even reviewing the ship’s medical records, which show one single case of common seasonal flu (type A influenza) affecting one crew member with a travel history clearly showing no passages through territories either affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or subject to any international health restrictions. In both instances, the ship was effectively turned away simply based on fears.
MSC Meraviglia is currently at sea on her way to Cozumel, Mexico, her next scheduled port of call. Ship’s command and Company’s management are in contact with local health authorities to ensure that their decision will be based on a factual review of the ship’s medical records, as well as consideration for the pre-embarkation screening and on board medical and deep sanitation protocols that are in place across MSC Cruises’ entire fleet.
All MSC Meraviglia’s guests and crew have been screened individually upon embarkation, both in terms of their travel history as well as their health. MSC Cruises denies embarkation to anyone – crew and guest alike – who has travelled to, from or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau, as well as to people who during the past 14 days have travelled to, from or through any of the municipalities that are subject to quarantine in central northern Italy. In addition to this, all MSC Cruises ships also conduct individual pre-boarding screening by thermal cameras to identify guests or crew members with signs or symptoms of illness such as fever (≥38 C°/100.4 F°) or feverishness, chills, cough or difficulty breathing. This will also result in denied embarkation.
The crewmember who was diagnosed with common seasonal flu is in a stable condition, receiving anti-viral treatment and medication, and is now free of fever and nearly recovered. Out of precaution he was isolated from other crew members and guests from the moment that he showed symptoms and will remain so until he is fully recovered. No other cases of type A influenza have been reported on board MSC Meraviglia.
Moreover, no cases of COVID-19 virus (Coronavirus) have been reported on board MSC Meraviglia or any other ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet. MSC Cruises apologizes for any inconvenience caused and the disappointment to its guests in connection with the missed calls in Ocho Rios and Georgetown this week.
The MSC Meraviglia was denied entry to two popular Caribbean cruise ports in fear of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
MSC Meraviglia Coronavirus Fears
As the deadly virus continues to spread beyond just mainland China and across the world, the cruise industry is being heavily impacted. In the latest developments, the MSC Meraviglia has been denied entry to Ocho Rios in Jamaica and George Town in the Cayman Islands due to fears of the virus.
However, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases on board and just one crew member from the Philippines who has the common flu. This was reported to health authorities but as a precaution, the ship was denied firstly by Jamaica.
The cruise line stated in a letter to guests:
After waiting for guidance in OCho Rios for nearly four hours, we ultimately decided to leave for GeorgE Town, Cayman Islands. MSC Cruises has been in discussions with local officials in the Cayman Islands throughout the day on February 25 in hopes that we would be allowed to dock at the island on February 26.
After discussions with the government of the Cayman Islands, the MSC Meraviglia was also denied entry. Do note that ships at the port have to tender guests ashore and back again, as there is no cruise dock at George Town that can accommodate cruise ships. The cruise line mentioned in the letter, “In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, they have denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled.”
The large MSC cruise ship is currently sailing a 7-day Caribbean cruise and was originally scheduled to call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, on February 25, 2020, and then Grand Cayman on February 26. There is a scheduled call in Cozumel, Mexico tomorrow, February 27, 2020, and then the final port of call at the cruise line’s new private island Ocean Cay in the Bahamas on February 29. MSC Meraviglia is scheduled to arrive back in Miami, Florida, on March 1, 2020.
It is likely the next ports on the itinerary will go ahead as normal as Cozumel welcomes several large cruise ships almost daily and Ocean Cay is owned by MSC Cruises.
Update: According to social media posts from passengers onboard the ship, the itinerary has changed to Honduras then Belize and a final stop in Mexico before returning to Florida.
The cruise line does have strict health restrictions in place across the fleet due to the coronavirus and to keep guests and crew safe. Everyone is screened individually during embarkation and travel history is checked. The crew member in question joined the ship in Miami on February 23, 2020, and passed the health screening.
To make up for the lost port of calls MSC is offering $200 per stateroom of onboard credit. Any shore excursions booked for Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman through the cruise line are being refunded automatically.
As of this writing, the coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 worldwide and killed 2,700. There is also a sharp increase in cases in Italy, South Korea, and Iran. The majority of cases are still in mainland China but there are fears the virus will continue to spread and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other health organizations are preparing for a pandemic if necessary.