MSC Cruises Health & safety Protocol

HEALTH & SAFETY MEASURES

 

MSC Cruises is offering a safe and stress-free holiday option for you and your loved ones. Embarking on an MSC cruise ship is like entering in a safe bubble thanks to our stringent MSC Cruises Health & Safety Protocol.

 

Our priority is the health and safety of our guests and crew. The below measures are applicable to sailings in the upcoming months, including our Mediterranean and Northern Europe cruises. We are continuously assessing developments in response to the COVID-19 and will adapt the health and safety measures to maintain a safe bubble.

 

For MSC Muisca & MSC Lirica’s upcoming South African departures, specific conditions and protocols, dependant on local government regulations in place at the time of sailing, will apply. We will amend and adjust all information herein accordingly. 

IMPORTANT COVID-19 INFORMATION/PRE-BOARDING MEASURES AND SCREENING - TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

 

We will deny boarding in case of:

 

Symptoms such as fever (>37,5 C / 99.5 F), cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle/body aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat and loss of taste/smell in the 14 days prior to embarkation

Potential exposure to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID 19 in the 14 days prior to embarkation

Temporary travel restrictions based on local circumstances. For example, certain countries may deny visas or prohibit entry based on travel history or nationality

 

Please note that all Guests (6 years and above) will need to take an RT-PCR swab test within 72 hours prior to the ship’s departure. The test results certificate must be printed in two copies and presented at the terminal in order to embark on the ship.

 

We continue to work with relevant authorities to keep the above requirements up to date. For local South African cruises please refer to the latest government regulations published here.

 

For international departures, different conditions and protocol are applied, especially for non-Schengen residents till the end of May 2021. More information in the FAQ section.

Since her return to service in the Mediterranean, MSC Grandiosa has safely hosted our guests under the protection of MSC Cruises’ Health & Safety protocol:

HOW WE PROTECT YOUR HEALTH & SAFETY
BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER YOUR CRUISE

the ONBOARD EXPERIENCE

We are committed to preserving the uniqueness of the onboard experience whilst ensuring that your health and safety are protected. You will continue to enjoy unique experiences including award-winning shows, world-class dining, excursions, family activities, boutique shopping, beauty and fitness services, engaging events and much more. Onboard services are subject to changes based on local regulations or other restrictions, in the context of the COVID-19 situation.

faq

We prepared a list of Frequent Asked Quesions (FAQ) to quickly get answers to you for the most common questions.

TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

- Are there any travel restrictions under the new protocol, such as current health status, past medical history or age 

All guests must be healthy and physically fit for travel. Health of our Guests is our number one priority.


Please note we will deny boarding in case of symptoms such as fever (>37,5 C / 99.5 F), cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle/body aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat and loss of taste/smell in the 14 days prior to embarkation or potential exposure to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID 19 in the 14 days prior to embarkation.
 
Please note that all guests embarking on MSC Musica & MSC Lirica’s South African departures, will need to take an RT-PCR swab test within 72 hours prior to the ship’s departure. Important to note that the test is not required for passengers under 6 years old (As per current South African government guidelines) In addition, all guests ages 3 and over will undertake a COVID-19 antigen test (AG) at the cruise terminal before boarding, to ensure they are healthy and fit for travel.

 

For MSC Grandiosa and MSC Seaside sailings in the upcoming months, please note that all Guests will need to take an RT-PCR or antigen swab test prior to the ship’s departure: within 96 hours for Italian residents and within 48 hours for guests entering into Italian territory from abroad*. The test results certificate must be printed in two copies and presented at the terminal in order to embark on the ship. The test is not required for passengers under 2 years old.

*Includes anyone who has travelled to, from, or through the Schengen countries, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia in the past 14 days prior to the ship's departure.  


The current advice from the World Health Organization, EU Healthy Gateways and other authorities is that COVID-19 is often more severe in people who are older or who have health conditions like lung or heart disease, diabetes or conditions that affect their immune system. Older guests or those with such conditions are advised to consult with a doctor or their local health authorities for guidance before travelling to assess whether they should be travelling at this time. According to the EU Healthy Gateways advisory, anyone over 65 years of age is considered part of a higher risk group.

- Are there any travel restrictions for certain nationalities or countries of residence that may prevent guests from being allowed on board
MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica sailings in the upcoming months?

For MSC Grandiosa and MSC Seaside sailings in the upcoming months, we will initially only welcome guests who are residents in the 26 European ‘Schengen’ countries (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia.


Non-Schengen residents (except for Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia) are currently not allowed to sail because of international and national travel restrictions. This is applicable to cruises till end of May 2021. Any update will be shared in due time before their cruise.
 
For MSC Musica & MSC Lirica’s South African sailings in the upcoming months, we will initially only welcome guests who are South African citizens, permanent residents or have a valid work permit (as it currently stands).  
 
 

- What is the MSC Covid-19 Protection Plan?

To ensure your peace of mind as you look forward to your next holiday, MSC Cruises requires all guests on MSC Musica & MSC Lirica’s South African departures, to have an insurance policy that covers any COVID-19 related risks, including cancellation, repatriation and medical expenses.

 

For your convenience, the cost of our new MSC COVID-19 Protection Plan will be additionally charged and added to your cruise package. It will provide coverage before, during and after your cruise. In collaboration with Hollard Insurance, the plan covers cancellation charges as well as medical and related transport expenses.

EMBARKATION / DISEMBARKATION

- Do guests need to provide any medical documents to show that they are COVID-19 negative at embarkation/disembarkation?

Before boarding, all guests must complete a health questionnaire and report any symptoms of illness or potential exposure to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to embarkation.


Please note that all guests (ages 6 years and above) embarking on MSC Musica & MSC Lirica’s South African departures, will need to take an RT-PCR swab test within 72 hours prior to the ship’s departure. The test results certificate must be printed in two copies and presented at the terminal in order to embark on the ship.


For MSC Grandiosa and MSC Seaside sailings in the upcoming months, please note that all Guests will need to take an RT-PCR or antigen swab test prior to the ship’s departure: within 96 hours for Italian residents and within 48 hours for guests entering into Italian territory from abroad*. The test results certificate must be printed in two copies and presented at the terminal in order to embark on the ship. The test is not required for passengers under 2 years old.

*Includes anyone who has travelled to, from, or through the Schengen countries, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia in the past 14 days prior to the ship's departure.

- What will happen if embarkation is denied to a guest for health reasons?

If a guest presents symptoms of illness such as temperature higher than 37.5°C / 99.5°F or there are concerns with their health questionnaire, they will undertake a secondary screening, including in-depth interview, a second temperature measurement, a medical examination and, if necessary, a laboratory examination.

If a guest is then not considered fit to travel, they will be assisted in their next steps of a return home or will be potentially being treated in a local medical facility to ensure maximum support and care.

- What safety protocols will be implemented on transfers and shuttles?

We are extending our enhanced health and hygiene measures to all MSC transfers, including:


- Cleaning and sanitisation of all vehicles before any new group of guests

- Availability of hand sanitisation stations and disinfectant mats for footwear

- Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all drivers

- Reduced number of guests with selected seats empty to ensure social distancing

 

- How are you cleaning and sanitising the guest cabins?

According to our enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols, every guest cabin will be thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis, with special attention to 40 frequently-touched areas, such as door handles, power switches, control panels, remote controls, desks and bathroom surfaces.

Every cabin will be deep cleaned at the end of each cruise before the next guests arrive for their holiday.


- How often are you sanitising public areas?

All public areas and public restrooms will be deep cleaned and sprayed with disinfectant each night, as well as regularly sanitised throughout the day.  For example, public toilets will be cleaned every 20 minutes, and all cleaning staff will wear appropriate PPE.

- What measures are you taking for the disembarkation process at the end of a cruise?

To ensure that all guests are disembarked safely and efficiently, we are providing detailed, step-by-step information, allocated time slots and a complimentary face mask for their journey home. 


All luggage will be sanitised before departure and staff wearing appropriate protective equipment will direct guests to avoid congestions at the gangway.
Boarding for the next sailing will only commence once all guests have disembarked, avoiding any cross-over.


For MSC Musica & MSC Lirica’s South African sailings in the upcoming months, please note that all guests, ages 3 and above will undergo a COVID-19 antigen test before disembarking.


- How will the check-in take place?

Before the cruise, the collection of contact details for each guest is mandatory in case of important updates. Proceeding to the web check-in allow guests to receive cruise tickets, travel documentation and mandatory health questionnaires. On the embarkation day, guests should arrive at the time indicated on the cruise ticket to facilitate responsible social distancing, with travel documentation and health questionnaires. All guests (as of 2 years old) will undertake a COVID-19 health screening and a swab test. For South African departures guests aged 3 and above will undertake this screening and swab test.  A newly designed processes for embarkation has been implemented to manage the guest flow, to limit lines and contacts. Before the cruise, MSC Cruises invites all guests sailing on our smart ships to download for free the MSC for Me app to start booking additional services, to secure space and to ensure a seamless onboard experience. 
 
 

ONBOARD MEDICAL SERVICES

- What happens if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 on board?

The preventative health and safety steps in the protocol are designed to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission on board. In the event that someone should fall sick, we have a fully equipped onboard 24/7 Medical Centre with highly qualified medical staff who are fully trained for COVID-19 treatment and who are supported by a 24/7 ashore medical team. 


In case of flu-like symptoms, guests should notify immediately the Medical Centre and free treatment will be provided. If the onboard medical team determines a suspected COVID-19 case, a comprehensive isolation procedure and response plan will be activated in close cooperation with the health authorities.

- Have you agreed with specific ports that they will welcome your ships that have positive cases on board for medical assistance ashore?

Yes. As part of our comprehensive and enhanced health and safety protocol, we have a contingency response plan in place with all the relevant authorities in the ports where the ships will call. 

- Do you have certified COVID-19 tests on board your ships?

We have COVID-19 testing equipment on board for Real Time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and antigen swab testing.
 

- How the health of anyone on board is monitored?

All MSC Cruises’ ships are equipped with state-of-the-art medical services and an increased number of qualified medical staff onboard, supported by dedicated 24/7 ashore Medical Team. We continuously monitor the health of our guests and crew with contactless temperature checks during the cruise; in case of flu-like symptoms, guests should immediately notify the Medical Centre and free treatment will be provided.


For MSC Grandiosa and MSC Seaside sailings in the upcoming months, all guests will undergo an additional swab test during the cruise whilst on board, on top of the existing pre-boarding COVID-19 testing. The test is mandatory. 

 

SOCIAL DISTANCING

- Will social distancing rules be applied onboard?

We have redesigned activities, adapted our services and reduced venue capacity to ensure that our guests can easily adhere to current social distancing recommendations, both onboard and ashore. 


Guests will be reminded of social distancing guidelines at the time of booking and during their cruise through signage, public announcements, in-cabin TV and staff engagement.

- Will guests be required to wear a mask?

MSC Cruises will organise activities to ensure that guests can practice responsible social distancing. Face masks will be required when in public areas, however masks do not need to be worn when seated in restaurants, bars, lounges, and when sitting on the sun deck. 


Face masks will be available throughout the cruise. We also advise all guests to wear a face mask when travelling to and from the port and in the terminal, in compliance with local regulations.

 

DINE & DRINK

- How will the Main Dining experience change?

Our main restaurants will continue to serve our guests with a wide array of inspiring dishes and high-quality cuisine. We are modifying the seating layout to enable safe physical distancing, and guests will have the same table and waiter throughout their cruise for extra peace of mind. 


We are elevating our strict food safety protocols by enhancing the cleaning and sanitising of all venues, providing appropriate protective equipment to all servers and increasing the number of hand sanitisation stations at all restaurants. 


Face masks do not need to be worn by our guests when seated in the restaurants, but only when entering the venue.

- Will the self-service at buffet be available?

At the buffet the food will be plated and served by our crew.
 

- Will Specialty Restaurants be open?

Yes, our sought-after Specialty Restaurants will be open while operating at a reduced capacity to comply with the precautionary health and safety measures. Reservations are available at the time of booking to help guests secure spaces and save money compared to onboard prices. Book your Specialty Restaurants here.

- Will there be any changes to the bars and lounges?

Our bars will be open and ready to serve our guests with their favourite cocktail or aperitif. To ensure we comply with the current social distancing recommendations, our staff will deliver drinks at the table and we will limit the capacity of each venue. Face masks do not need to be worn by our guests when seated in bars and lounges, but only when entering the venue.
 

- How I can prebook my drinks or restaurants onboard?

You can save time by personalising your cruise even before getting onboard. Through the Manage Your Booking area you can easily add drink packages or dining experiences to your cruise and take advantage of our pre-boarding rates. 
 

- How I can get the restaurants and drinks menu at bars and restaurants?

For a contactless experience, guests will access restaurant and bar menus from their personal mobile device by scanning a QR code whilst on board. Before the cruise, MSC Cruises invites all guests to download for free the MSC for Me app to browse all the onboard restaurants, bars and lounges and to ensure a seamless onboard experience like making restaurant reservations.
 

ENTERTAINMENT, SERVICES & EXCURSIONS

- Will guests still be able to enjoy the theatre shows and other activities?

Guests will be required to wear a face mask when in the theatre. Guests will enjoy our onboard award-winning entertainment but with a few changes:

- We are reducing the capacity of the theatre to allow for empty seats between guests
- The entertainment programme will be extended so that all guests can enjoy our award-winning shows
- Shows and activities will be pre-booked to manage the number of participants
- Guests will be required to wear a face mask when in the theatre

 

- Will the Kids Club be open and what kind of kids’ activities will be available?

Our Kids Club and family activities will welcome kids and parents in a healthy and safe environment while ensuring a fun and enjoyable experience.
New measures include reduced capacity, a streamlined registration process, contactless temperature check and hand sanitiser provided upon entry. We're adding new exciting activities and family game shows that will be available for booking up to one day in advance. Toys and water will be provided by our staff, while we'll keep out personal belongings as an additional safety measure.

- Will you still have Spa and Fitness services available to guests?

All MSC Aurea Spa and Fitness facilities and services will be available* with enhanced health and sanitation measures, extended opening hours and reduced capacity in public spaces. Onboard services are subject to changes based on local regulations or other restrictions, in the context of the COVID-19 situation.

 
For their health and comfort, guests will pre-book spa treatments, fitness sessions and thermal area visits by phone. 

Fitness machines and equipment, spa areas and treatment rooms will be thoroughly sanitised after each use as well as deep-cleaned and disinfected every night. 
All Spa staff have been trained on rigorous health and sanitation measures and will wear appropriate protective equipment. Book your Spa packages now!


Depending on ship-class, the following experiences will be closed until further notice:  Saunas, Steam Rooms, Heat Baths Whirlpools, Ice & Snow Experiences. Relax rooms, experience showers, loungers will remain open to our guests.

- Will guests be able to use the casino?

The casino remains fully functional under the new protocol with added sanitation and social distancing measures in place, including frequent sanitising of chips, replacing playing cards on a regular basis and a reduced number of seats at gaming tables. 

- Will there be any restrictions to visit some ports?

Discover protected excursions: If you wish to go ashore during your cruise, you can only do so by participating in MSC Excursions or, for MSC Musica and MSC Lirica’s South African departures, by visiting one of our MSC Cruises exclusive destinations (the Pomene and Portuguese Islands). This will ensure that the same high standards of cleanliness and sanitation on board are continued ashore.