Cruise lines that operate from the U.S. are making changes to their protocols so that cruises can continue safely and that they align with the ports and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This includes MSC Cruises, which made an update to its protocols on September 3 for U.S. departures.
MSC Protocols Updated
On September 3, MSC Cruises updated its protocols for its U.S. operations which include departures for three vessels out of Florida. With authorities in the Bahamas requiring all cruise ship guests 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated, the cruise line is now following this to make sure cruises can continue to the region. Guests have to show proof that they were vaccinated at least 14 days before sailing.
The requirement by the Bahamas is to remain in place until November 1, 2021 and applies to cruise ships at all of its ports, including cruise line private islands, which for MSC, is Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.
On August 27, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made adjustments to the Conditional Sailing Order, and one of the biggest changes was the testing requirement. For all MSC departures from the U.S. from September 3 through September 12, guests have to take a test no more than three days (72 hours) before arriving at the terminal for their cruise departure.
That will change on sailings from September 13 as per CDC guidelines, with guests having to get tested within two days (48 hours) before the ship departs. This can be a PCR, NAAT, or antigen negative test result. Other cruise lines are also altering their three-day testing period to two days which unfortunately makes it even more difficult for guests.
The new variants are a growing concern for multiple ports and countries around the world. It comes as no surprise that MSC and other cruise lines are making these updates. Even though the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order is just a requirement in the State of Florida, MSC Cruises is still choosing to follow the guidelines to make sure everyone on board is protected. All crew members are fully vaccinated before any MSC cruise ship resumes operations.
The U.S. Restart Continues
As the situation remains fluid and cruise lines adapt, MSC Cruises can continue moving forward with its phased-in return to service. The cruise line has already restarted in Europe and has been one of the few cruise lines to keep sailing part of 2020.
MSC Meraviglia became the first ship in the fleet to resume operations from the U.S. on August 3, 2021. The vessel is now sailing three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas out of Miami, Florida. From September 18, MSC Meraviglia will begin seven-night eastern and western Caribbean voyages.
MSC Divina will become the second ship in the fleet to resume from the U.S. and the first MSC cruise ship to ever homeport at Port Canaveral on September 16, 2021. The vessel will offer three-, four- and seven-night itineraries.
And the third to resume will be the much anticipated MSC Seashore, the new flagship, which will arrive in Miami on November 18 following her inaugural season in the Mediterranean.
It is important to always check the latest protocols from the cruise line before your cruise, especially that there are constant updates. You can check the MSC health and safety measures here.