MSC Cruises, the world’s third largest cruise line, has just announced its reboot in the United States with two of its 18 ships sailing from Florida.
“After what has been a challenging period, we are excited to say that it is finally time to cross again,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises.
The announcement follows the provisional approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the cruise line’s request to conduct a simulation cruise on MSC Meraviglia, (scheduled for departure from PortMiami on July 17, 2021) as well as approval of port agreements with PortMiami and Port Canaveral (Orlando).
- MSC Meraviglia will sail on 3- and 4-night cruises from Miami to the Bahamas on August 2, 2021. The ship will start 7-night cruises to the Bahamas and the Caribbean on September 18, 2021.
- MSC Divina will begin 3-, 4- and 7-night cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral on September 16, 2021.
The full itineraries for the cruises have not been released yet, but both ships stop at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, the line’s new private island destination.
Health and safety measures and guest guidelines are also being finalized, but the MSC says passengers will does not required vaccinated. Those who have not been vaccinated will, however, be subject to additional requirements, which may include tests on board. The MSC previously announced a fleet-wide vaccination program for the crew and plans to limit ship capacity to 70%.
“The rapid distribution of vaccines in the United States has been a positive step towards helping holidays get back on track, and we encourage our guests to take advantage of this extra layer of protection when resuming travel this summer,” said Rubén Rodriguez. President of MSC Cruises USA.
Booking of these MSC cruises begins on June 16th.
At present, the requirements for vaccination and testing for cruise ships are in motion and cover the proverbial waterfront. “There is no industry-wide policy on vaccine requirements for cruise ships,” comments Chris Gray Faust, CEO of Cruise Critic.
“Policies vary from line to line and even ship to ship – some cruise ships have some ships in their fleet that sail with a vaccine need, while other ships in their fleet do not,” she says. This means that it is more important than ever to get acquainted with the requirements for your specific sailing before boarding. Policies are also subject to change, so be sure to stay in close contact with your line and travel agent before your cruise. ”
She notes that destinations on a itinerary may have their own requirements independent of the cruise line.
Gray Faust suggests that travelers join one Cruise critic call specific to their trip so they can share information with people scheduled to be on the same cruise. Cruise critic also maintains an up-to-date list of COVID-19 test requirements for the various cruise ships.