The First Cruise to Sail the Mediterranean Since COVID-19 Left Port This Weekend
The first Mediterranean cruise since Italy lifted its coronavirus lockdown set sail on Sunday evening.
The MSC Grandiosa set sail from Genoa in northern Italy on Sunday evening for a seven-night cruise of the western Mediterranean, the cruise line announced in a press release Monday.
In order to board the ship, passengers were required to arrive at the cruise terminal at staggered time slots. They were also required to undergo a temperature check, medical review of a health questionnaire and a COVID-19 swab test before boarding.
The crew quarantined before the ship set sail and will be required to take several more COVID-19 tests throughout the voyage.
All passengers onboard have been given wristbands, which allow for contactless payment and access to their staterooms. The wristbands can also be used for contact tracing, if necessary. While onboard, passengers are required to wear face masks in elevators and other public areas where social distancing is not possible.
MSC did not announce how many passengers were aboard the ship but did limit capacity to 70 percent of what the “Grandiosa” normally accommodates.
As it journeys along the Mediterranean, the ship will call in the ports of Naples, Palermo, Sicily and Valletta, Malta.
MSC is also planning a second cruise on its MSC Magnifica — scheduled to set sail on August 29 — which will sail around the eastern Mediterranean. Both MSC cruises are only open to residents of Europe’s Schengen Zone.
Meanwhile, on land in Italy, the country has closed its discos and nightclubs and made it mandatory to wear a mask when outside. As coronavirus cases pick back up across the country, particularly among young people, face masks are now required from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. in public spaces near bars, Reuters reported.
Cruise ships around the world — from Germany to Taiwan — have resumed sailings, with mixed results. Two different cruise lines in Norway reported COVID-19 outbreaks. The expedition line Hurtigruten suspended most of its operations after dozens of crew members and passengers tested positive for COVID-19 and the SeaDream Yacht Club was forced to quarantine after a passenger from a previous sailing tested positive for the virus.