MSC Grandiosa – First Mediterranean Cruise Sets Sail

MSC Grandiosa (left) and MSC Magnifica (right). First two MSC ships to restart operations in the Med.

It finally happened… after 5 months of waiting and preparing, MSC Grandiosa departed Genoa on Sunday night (16. August) followed by cheers from those on board as well as those watching from shore. Quite an emotional moment as you can see in a couple of videos I added to this post!

MSC Grandiosa became the first major ocean cruise ship to set sail on a Mediterranean cruise in almost five months since the global suspension of sailings due to coronavirus (Covid-19) was announced. This comes following the announcement from the Italian government last week that it has granted permission for cruise lines to resume sailings in the region from 15 August.

MSC Grandiosa departing the Port of Genoa horns blaring

The ship departed from the Italian port of Genoa yesterday (Sunday 16 August) on a seven-night voyage and will call at the Italian ports of Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Palermo and Malta’s Valetta.

Normally, the cruise ship carries up to as many as 6,300 passengers, but due to new Covid-19 protocols, is operating at a reduced capacity of 70 per cent. Around 1.500 passengers embarked in Genoa while another one thousand will embark in other Italian ports. 10 percent of staterooms were also set aside for isloation if it comes to that.

Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO commented: “It is a real pleasure for me to be here and sail on board the first of our ships to return to service and to be able to welcome back our guests. Our main goal during these last months has been to put in place the right measures that will protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit. But at the same time, we have worked to ensure that we are able to provide our guests with a cruise holiday that they can enjoy and still experience all of the elements that they know and love from entertainment and activities on board through to protected ashore visits.”

MSC becomes the third big-ship line to restart operations, following TUI Cruises/Mein Schiff (which restarted operations from Germany last month and Dream cruises which are currently sailing in Taiwan with their smallest ship, Explorer Dream!

MSC Grandiosa seen arriving in Civitavecchia this morning (17.8.), her first stop on her fist post-COVID cruise.

A second MSC ship, the MSC Magnifica, will debut into operation later this month sailing cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean from Bari and Trieste in Italy.

This restart wouldn’t be possible without some strict and comprehensive health and safety measures which will protect both passengers and crew. Health screening of guests prior to embarkation comprises of three comprehensive steps: temp. check, a health questionnaire and a COVID-19 swab test. Depending on the screening results and according to the guest’s medical or travel history, a secondary health screening or testing will take place. Any guest who tests positive, displays symptoms or a temperature will be denied boarding.

The ship will also see elevated sanitation and cleaning measures supported by the introduction of new cleaning methods, the use of hospital-grade disinfectant products and the sanitation of the air on board with UV-C light technology that kills 99.97% of microbes.

Ongoing health monitoring will also be conducted throughout the cruise. Guests and crew will have their temperature checked daily either when they return from ashore or at dedicated stations around the ship to monitor the health status of every guest and crew member.

Technology has also been put to use on MSC Grandiosa. All guests received a MSC for Me wristband, which provides them with contactless options while on board such as opening the cabin or making payments. MSC Cruises said it will also help to facilitate proximity and contact tracing, if needed. of MSC Grandiosa

And one final step to ensure the health and safety of everyone onboard is, both gesuts and crew will only go ashore as a part of an organized MSC excurstion. Now I am not yet familiar if they maybe slightly reduced the prices or if you maybe get a certain number of excursions included in your cruise fare based on your cruise package, but it does make sense to limit everyone’s contact with the “outside world” to maintain the safe bubble onboard!

All in all, I’m so excited that we finally have a ship sailing in the Mediterranean and I hope that everything goes smoothly on Grandiosa and for MSC. This is one big step for the cruising industry in general as Grandiosa is the first big ship back in operation. I’m glad that MSC is leading the way with really comprehensive health and safety measures, they’re even testing everyone before boarding, which I hope will show the general public that cruising is yet again is one of the safest vacation options out there.

I’ve cruised on MSC Grandiosa’s almost identical sister ship MSC Bellissima last November and wow have I loved that ship, you can read my full review of that cruise HERE and my top 6 reasons why you should book a cruise on MSC Bellissima/Grandiosa HERE! I also just got back from my first post-COVID cruise here in Croatia on the beautiful MV Avangard by Katarine Line, feel free to check out my short diary of that cruise! Only 18 passengers… really different from what’s currently happening on MSC Grandiosa but equally fun!

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