MSC Cruises received a certificate of compliance from Japanese maritime classification society ClassNK for its comprehensive health and safety protocol.
MSC Cruises’ health and safety protocol is based on nine key elements, many of which have been adopted by other cruise lines, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and international airlines and airports. The elements are:
- Testing of all guests at least twice per voyage
- Testing of all crew at least three times before embarkation and weekly on board
- Only protected shore excursions, as organized ‘social bubbles’
- Ventilation with HVAC fresh air
- Contingency response that does not burden local health infrastructures
- Isolation space on board and tracking and tracing including close contacts
- Physical distancing – aided by reduced capacity of the ship
- COVID-19 prevalence monitoring
The certification of MSC Cruises’ industry-leading health and safety protocol for Biosafety Management System (COVID-19) now paves the way for the cruise line to open sales in December to local residents for cruises homeporting in Japan and start to work with ports in the country to prepare for the upcoming season.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO, said, “We are extremely pleased to have received this certification and are now confident that we will be able to restart our Japan operation serving the local market by April 2021.”
Health and safety operating protocols of port authorities in Japan and MSC Cruises will also follow guidelines established by JOPA, the Japan Oceangoing Passenger Ship Association.
MSC Bellissima, which was launched in 2019, will be deployed to Japan, homeport in Yokohama to sail six to nine-night cruises in April, May and June 2021. She is also scheduled to operate in the country during October and November 2021.