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On 16 August 2020, MSC Grandiosa welcomed guests back on board as MSC Cruises became the first major cruise line to restart operations since the start of the global pandemic. This was as a result of the approval of a comprehensive health and safety protocol that helped to set a new standard for the industry. Since then, MSC Cruises has hosted more than 40,000 guests on board, and the feedback from guests has been extremely positive, so much so that some guests have been choosing to extend their stay on board by one or more weeks.

On 24 January, MSC Grandiosa resumed as planned regular 7-night cruises in the Mediterranean after a short pause of operations during the holiday period, as a result of the Italian decree that restricted movement within the country and the ship has been operating effectively for one month now. MSC Grandiosa’s Cruise Director, Javier Mora spoke to The Daily Mirror to tell cruise fans what life was like on board. Find out what Javier had to say by watching here. You can hear what our travel agents had to say about their experience on board – talking about dining and entertainment on board MSC Grandiosa.

Loyal cruise fans who are in a part of the world where cruising has yet to restart are eagerly watching the progress of MSC Grandiosa. There are many questions that are asked about life on board with the new measures so here are some of the answers to those questions:

Do I need an insurance for my cruise?

We advise that guests have in place an insurance policy covering COVID-19 related risks such as cancellation of the holiday repatriation expenses, quarantine, medical assistance and hospitalisation.

We have introduced a COVID-19 Protection Plan in collaboration with Europ Assistance, which covers guests before, during and after the cruise. It only costs Euros €25 per person and is currently available to guests who reside in Schengen countries.

What if I need a test to return to my home country at the end of the cruise?

We are now able to offer tests for our guests on board that need a negative test result to return home. The RT-PCR test costs €80 per guest and the antigen swab test is priced at €25 per guest. The RT-PCR swab will be done on board and the data will be analysed in a shoreside laboratory whilst the antigen results are processed on board. This is simple to arrange and is done once the guest is on board.

Do I need to wear a mask on board?

Guests are required to wear a face mask when moving around the ship and where social distancing cannot be maintained for example, in public areas as well as in the lifts. Masks do not need to be worn when seated in restaurants, bars and lounges or when sitting on the sun deck. As with many of our health and safety measures, this is in line with those from ashore. Complimentary face masks are made available for guests throughout the cruise either in the cabin or at points around the ship.

Can I still go ashore?

Guests can currently only go ashore as part of an organised MSC Cruises excursion so that we create a safe bubble for the cruise. This protects the wellbeing of guests, crew and the communities being visited and means excursions are delivered with the same high standards of health and safety on board.

We ensure that transfers are properly sanitised and that there is adequate space to respect social distancing. Tour guides and drivers all undergo health screening and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Is there still a buffet?
The popular buffet restaurant has been retained with carefully managed guest flows to ensure social distancing. Instead of self-service, we introduced a new service concept where the guests select what they want, and the food is plated and handed to them to take back to their table to ensure that the highest level of health and hygiene measures are followed. Similarly, all meals and drinks in all of our restaurants, bars and lounges are served to guests at their table. For a contactless experience, guests can access restaurant and bar menus from their personal mobile device by scanning a QR code.

Are your onboard shops open?

The onboard shopping experience remains much the same, with a few small differences, similar to those that people might experience ashore:
  • Shops have a controlled flow of guests to ensure a reduce the number of people in the shop at any one time; flows will be one-way
  • Thorough cleaning is completed after any demonstrations or try-ons (such as wearable technology).
  • Retail staff wear face masks and request that guests sanitise their hands before entering the shop and wear their own face masks.

Are there still activities and entertainment?

We continue to offer a range of different activities throughout the ship, with capacity carefully managed for each one.

Entertainment is a popular part of the cruise experience and we have plenty of live shows in the theatre and Carousel Lounge, activities and sports by the pool and smaller entertainment activities in the Promenade and the lounges.

We currently don’t hold any large parties for the time being such as our popular White Party, but we do organise smaller-scale activities including themed events, games, kids and family activities, and dance shows.

Are swimming pools and aquaparks open? And how are public spaces managed on board?

Our public areas are open for all to enjoy, and this includes swimming pools, aquaparks and whirlpool baths. While we have limited how many guests may use them at a time, ships with aquaparks and kids spray areas offer different areas to cool off.

Sunbeds are available for guests, socially distanced of course, and they are all routinely sanitised after use and deep cleaned at night.

To find out more about MSC Grandiosa visit here

To find out more about the health and safety measures on board visit here