Because of changing restrictions along European itineraries, MSC Cruises has decided to cancel upcoming sailings of MSC Magnifica, giving booked guests who have already paid in full several options to change their plans. From December 19, 2021 through January 14, 2022, all of the ship’s sailings have been canceled.
MSC Magnifica Sailings Canceled
As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide and is particularly prevalent in Europe, several European countries have tightened travel restrictions, which have begun to impact cruises. Particularly in the United Kingdom and Germany, both of which have seen dramatic increases in positive cases in recent weeks, new restrictions are limiting cruise options for MSC Cruises.
MSC Magnifica has been scheduled for 7-night cruises exploring northern Europe. These cruises originate in several cities under a “metropolitan” itinerary, which permits passengers to embark at any port of call. The itinerary includes Hamburg, Germany; Le Havre, France; Southampton, England; Zeebrugge, Belgium; and Ijmuiden, the Netherlands.
Several European Union countries, including Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands – all the nations on MSC Magnifica‘s itineraries – have banned many travelers from the United Kingdom in an attempt to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.
The latest measures from Germany took effect December 19, the day MSC Magnifica docked in Hamburg. German guests who had booked the cruise for this Christmas week were not allowed to board the ship on Sunday.
MSC Cruises informed the disappointed passengers that according to the new restrictions, the company is not allowed to mix German and British guests on board the MSC Magnifica.
Another difficulty is that the United Kingdom changed entry regulations for cruise ships on November 29, 2021, now prohibiting all forms of shore leave in ports. Embarkation and disembarkation, however, are permitted in Southampton, though travelers returning to the UK from an international cruise need to complete a passenger locator form and post-cruise testing requirements as well as quarantine for up to 14 days, even if fully vaccinated.
Because of these complications that limit what passengers are able to do, MSC Cruises opted instead to cancel the next four weeks of MSC Magnifica sailings.
Guests who have fully paid for their now-canceled MSC Magnifica cruise have several options.
Guests can receive a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) for the full amount of the cruise fare, excluding government taxes, fees, and prepaid services such as spa packages or specialty dining, which will be refunded.
Guests may also opt to move their booking to any ship (not just MSC Magnifica) or any future sailing, or they may request a full refund of their fare.
Though no additional details are available at this time, these compensation options are not likely to apply to the upcoming World Cruise aboard MSC Magnifica in 2023, or any other World Cruise itineraries. When other cruise lines have been forced to cancel itineraries, more extraordinary world cruise or “grand voyage” options are typically excluded from compensation choices.
MSC Magnifica is a 95,128-gross-ton Musica-class ship with a passenger capacity of 2,518 guests at double occupancy. The ship was the second in the MSC Cruises fleet to resume sailings after the months-long shutdown, first restarting out of Genoa, Italy, in October 2020.