•    Flagship MSC Grandiosa to welcome back guests in the West Mediterranean from 16 August and MSC Magnifica in the East Mediterranean from 29 August
•    MSC Cruises to go beyond guidelines with enhanced measures including universal testing for all guests and crew as well as safe ashore visits at each port
•    Halting of other cruise operations in Mediterranean, U.S., Far East

Geneva, Switzerland – 8 August,2020 - MSC Cruises has announced that flagship MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica will resume operations in the Mediterranean starting from 16 and 29 August 2020 respectively, offering guests who are residents in Schengen countries* the opportunity to discover five different destinations during a 7-night cruise. The two ships will be the first to implement a new comprehensive health and safety protocol that has been approved by the relevant national authorities from the countries that the ships will call along their East and West Mediterranean itineraries this summer.   

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman commented, “During the pause in our operations we focused on developing a comprehensive operating protocol that builds upon already stringent health and safety measures that have long been in place on board our ships. We have worked closely with the relevant EU-level, national health and other authorities from the countries that MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica will call along their Mediterranean itineraries to develop a comprehensive set of procedures designed to protect the health and safety of all passengers on board our ships as well as ashore to ensure that local communities feel comfortable welcoming our guests.”

Pierfrancesco Vago continued, “The new procedures include universal COVID-19 testing for all guests and crew prior to embarkation, protected ashore visits at each destination only with an MSC Cruises excursion as added level of protection for our guests and the introduction of a COVID Protection Plan for further peace of mind for our guests. With all of these measures in place we aim to offer our guests the safest possible holiday.”

MSC Grandiosa, the Company’s flagship, will offer seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean calling at the Italian ports of Genoa, Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Palermo and Valetta. MSC Magnifica will offer seven-night cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean departing from the Italian ports of Bari and Trieste, calling at the Greek ports of Corfu, Katakolon and Piraeus (Athens).

MSC Cruises’ new operating protocol has been designed to protect the health and safety of guests, crew as well as the local communities that the Company’s ships visit. For this reason, it meets and goes beyond guidelines provided by key international and regional regulatory and technical bodies, as well as regulations set forth by the governments in the countries in which MSC Cruises ships operate. Additionally, RINA, the independent maritime certification corporation, has verified that the protocol meets the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) Guidance, which incorporates additional health standards including those from the EU Healthy Gateways Joint Action.

For this initial phase of the restart of operations, the two MSC Cruises ships operating in the Mediterranean for the current European summer season will initially only welcome guests who are residents in Schengen countries*.

MSC Cruises has today cancelled all other cruises in the Mediterranean from 16 August through to and including 31 October.

MSC Cruises also announced the cancellation of all U.S cruise departures up to and including the 31 October and this is in line with the announcement that CLIA members will voluntarily extend the suspension of cruise operations to this date. CLIA stated that “This proactive action further demonstrates the cruise industry’s commitment to public health and willingness to voluntarily suspend operations in the interest of public health and safety, as has occurred twice prior.” MSC Cruises will only restart operations in the U.S only when the time is right, following approval by the CDC and other relevant authorities across the region in observance of their requirements and guidelines.  

Finally, MSC Cruises also cancelled the Far East cruises from 10 September through to and including 26 October.

For all cancelled cruises guests will receive a 125% Future Cruise Credit.

Today’s announcement follows the confirmation of full details of MSC Cruises programmes starting in late October this year through to November 2021, covering the European Winter 2020/2021 and the European Summer 2021 seasons. Ships will offer guests itineraries across all the regions traditionally served by MSC Cruises in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, South Africa, South America and Asia.

*Schengen Countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.