A Cruise Ship Sails Again Post Pandemic

The world watches on as MSC Grandiosa leaves the port of Genoa on a seven-day voyage becoming the first large ship to cruise after five months
MSC Grandiosa built in 2019 has a passenger capacity of 6,300
MSC Grandiosa built in 2019 has a passenger capacity of 6,300

It's been a long time since we all went into lockdown mode and restrictions on travel were imposed. Cruise ships were among the worst affected with several ships reporting that passengers and crew had tested positive for COVID-19. Many ships which were already on the seas had to be quarantined when they arrived at a port. Some cruise ship builders have shut down.

However, it looks like things are changing.

As Europe looks to ease travel restrictions, MSC Grandiosa has become the first large cruise liner to return to the seas in the Mediterranean. The first guests embarked on the journey as the Grandiosa left the port of Genoa for a seven-day voyage on August 16. The first service after nearly six months will see the ship stop at three Italian ports and the Maltese capital Valletta.

According to MSC Cruises, the Grandiosa will function at around 70% of its normal operations, with a limited 2,500 passengers onboard.

Travellers were allocated time slots to enter the cruise, followed by the new universal screening procedures. As per the protocol, every passenger underwent a temperature check, medical review of a health questionnaire, and an antigen COVID-19 swab test before on-boarding.

After the tests, each guest was handed a wristband for contactless operations on board, from opening the cabin to making payments. It is also programmed to help facilitate proximity and contact tracing if needed.

Additionally, all crew members have gone through stringent health screening measures including COVID-19 tests in various phases as well as staying in isolation before returning to the deck, according to the operators.

Following the first stop at Civitavecchia, more guests are expected to join in from the ports of Naples and Palermo before the ship heads to Valetta in Malta, before returning to Genoa.

Cruise companies across the world are monitoring the journey to evaluate the success rate. This launch is seen as a huge first step towards rebooting the cruise industry which generates an estimated $150bn for the world economy, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.

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