Earlier this week, Viking Cruises, P&O Cruises, and Princess Cruises announced that they will all be offering a variety of cruises out of the UK this spring.
Now, MSC Cruises has released plans to begin a series of mini and week long cruises around the UK for British guests starting on May 20. The cruises will include protected shore excursions on the seven night sailings.
All voyages on MSC will welcome British families and guests of all ages — including those who have already received their vaccine against COVID-19 as well as those are still awaiting vaccination.
All guests will receive an antigen test prior to embarkation, while non-vaccinated guests will also be required to show proof of negative test done within 72 hours prior to embarkation. Other pre-boarding and on-board measures will also apply to both guests and crew, in line with the cruise line’s health and safety protocol.
The protocol, which currently applies to MSC Cruises’ ships sailing in Europe, was developed in 2020 with input from international health experts — including MSC Cruises’ ‘COVID-19 Blue-Ribbon Expert Group’ — and in close cooperation with relevant national and regional health, transport and safety authorities throughout Europe.
Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises gave the following statement, “Our experience of sailing safely and responsibly since August last year in the Mediterranean, under our industry-leading protective health and safety protocol, has given us a great deal of knowledge and data about safe cruises. Thanks to a protocol designed to be adapted to reflect the evolution of the pandemic ashore, we have carried more than 50,000 guests to-date — on cruises to Italy, Malta and Greece — who can testify to the experience of having an enjoyable holiday that catered for their wellbeing both onboard our ships and also during our pioneering protected shore excursions.”
“Following the initial phase of our restart in the Mediterranean, the next logical step for us is to make our experience available to British holidaymakers, who are passionate about cruising, as the UK plans to open up domestic travel in the second half of May.
“We also remain confident that we will soon be able to welcome British guests back on board one of our ships further afield, once current international travel restrictions are lifted and more of our ships will have restarted across the Mediterranean as well as other areas traditionally favored by the British.”
All departures, starting from May 20, will embark from Southampton, with details on other embarkation ports in the UK to be announced soon.
In the U.S., MSC Cruises will only restart operations when the time is right, following approval by the CDC and other relevant authorities across the region in observance of their requirements and guidelines.