I am currently onboard the cruise ship to celebrate MSC’s return to the region and to see what health guidelines that they have in place as they resume cruises. I booked an aft balcony soon after the cruises were announced and the total for my wife, my son, and myself was around $1,200 with taxes/fees. MSC upgraded us to the Yacht Club and I will have more about that amazing experience later.
— Cruise Fever (@CruiseFever) August 2, 2021
This cruise is special to use since it’s my son’s first cruise and he celebrates his first birthday on it. Because of this, I won’t be writing as much on this cruise as I normally do, but will cover everything about this sailing after we get home.
This is my fourth cruise since they resumed in June but my first from a U.S port. Previous cruises departed from Nassau and I sailed from Reykjavik, Iceland twice. What is it like on MSC Cruises’ first sailing from the U.S. in almost 16 months? Let’s dive in.
This cruise is open to everyone, to both vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers. There are just over 2,000 passengers on board and the ship is sailing at just under 50% capacity. Everyone was tested for COVID-19 before boarding the cruise ship, regardless of vaccination status. (exception for those who are younger than two) This is something MSC has done they resumed cruises from Italy last August. There was no charge for the test.
— Cruise Fever (@CruiseFever) August 3, 2021
Because of this, boarding took a little longer than normal because we had to wait for negative test results to come back before we could check-in and board. From the time we arrived at the terminal to the time we boarded the ship was roughly one hour and 45 minutes.
For the most part, the cruise feels much like the other 48 that I have taken. Even though there are enhanced health protocols, it doesn’t take away from the cruise experience in my opinion. MSC is doing a great job of keeping guests safe while still offering a fun cruise vacation.
Masks are required to be worn by everyone while inside the ship. Times when you don’t have to wear a mask are when you are in your stateroom, eating, drinking, or on an outside deck. Crew members also wear masks at all times.
There are a few places on the ship that are open only to vaccinated passengers. This includes the casino and one of the lounges that is open to guests 21+.
Social distancing is required all around the cruise ship. Only 4 passengers are allowed in an elevator at a time. There are also seats that are marked to remain empty to keep guests spread apart and the loungers on the pool deck are also spaced away from each other.
The buffet is open but crew members plate your food for you. You tell them what you want and they put it on your plate.
All of the specialty restaurants are open with an exception for HOLA!, but crew members told me they expect it to open soon.
Temperature checks are also done every day before you enter the buffet.
The crew is constantly sanitizing the ship and tables after they are used.
The waterpark on the top deck is closed every once and a while for 30 minutes so it can be sanitized.
The staff has been incredible on board and you can tell they are excited to once again have passengers on the ship. Every where we go we are greeted with a smile and a hello. This is by far the friendliest crew I’ve had on my five cruises with MSC.
Today we're at the newest cruise line private island in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. pic.twitter.com/0lQd0lOygk
— Cruise Fever (@CruiseFever) August 4, 2021
Our four day cruise visits Nassau and spends a day and a half at MSC’s private island in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay. The visit to Ocean Cay is an overnight stay and guests can stay on the island until 11 pm. There is light show from the Lighthouse at 9 pm which everyone is looking forward to.
I will have more on this cruise and the ship after we get home. So far the cruise has been incredible and the Yacht Club is spoiling us like we have never been spoiled before.