Health & Safety protocol | MSC Cruises Play

HEALTH & SAFETY MEASURES

MSC Cruises is offering a safe and stress-free holiday option for you and your loved ones. Embarking on an MSC cruise ship is like entering in a safe bubble thanks to our stringent MSC Cruises Health & Safety Protocol.
 
Our priority is the health and safety of our guests and crew. The below measures are applicable to Summer 2021 departures around the British Isles, in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. We are continuously assessing developments in response to the COVID-19 and will adapt the health and safety measures to maintain a safe bubble.
 

IMPORTANT COVID-19 INFORMATION/PRE-BOARDING MEASURES AND SCREENING - TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

 

We will deny boarding in case of: 

• Symptoms such as fever (>37,5 C C / 99.5 F), cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle/body aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat and loss of taste/smell in the 14 days prior to embarkation

• Potential exposure to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID 19 in the 14 days prior to embarkation

• Temporary travel restrictions based on local circumstances. For example, certain countries may deny visas or prohibit entry based on travel history or nationality.

• Failure to provide the result of a lateral flow (antigen) or PCR (molecular) swab test result (taken within 72 hours prior embarking) if you are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated

• Failure to provide the proof of the mandatory COVID-19 insurance policy, vaccination or medical exemption


 

MSC VIRTUOSA – UK SAILINGS

For MSC Virtuosa’ sailings around the British Isles from 24th July onwards, updated policies apply: Guests will be considered “fully vaccinated” 14 days after receiving a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Guests who are fully vaccinated will be required to present evidence of this status prior to embarkation (i.e. NHS app, vaccination certificate or card).

All guests who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, specifically those who are under 18 years of age, who are medically exempt in relation to vaccination, who have not yet received their second vaccine dose, or who will be less than 14 days since their second dose at the time of departure of the cruise, will need to have taken a PCR (molecular) or antigen (lateral flow) test within the last 72 hours prior to arrival at the terminal for embarkation. Proof of a negative test result will be requested at the terminal and we will accept evidence such as an email, SMS or a printed document. The test is not required for fully-vaccinated (any proof of vaccination needed) or under 2 years old guests. Failure to provide the proof of the mandatory COVID-19 insurance policy, vaccination or medical exemption will result in the refusal of embarkation.

However, as per our stringent MSC Health & Safety protocol, all guests both vaccinated and unvaccinated, will need to undergo some Health and COVID 19 screenings including a COVID 19 swab test, a health questionnaire and a contactless temperature check, before boarding the ship.

 

SCOTLAND

We also inform you that, following the Scottish Government’s announcement stating that it would be moving all areas of the nation to its “Level 0” on 19 July 2021, all MSC Virtuosa sailings scheduled to visit and embark and disembark guests in Greenock will be reinstated in the itineraries of MSC Virtuosa from 28 July 2021. 

 

 

MANDATORY COVID INSURANCE POLICY 

It is mandatory for all UK guests to be in possession of Covid-19 travel insurance prior to their holiday.
For more information, see the 
Travel Requirements section. 


INTERNATIONAL CRUISES

 

For non-domestic cruises, different requirements are applied, especially for non-Schengen residents till end of July 2021. 

 

More information is available in the FAQ section. We continue to work with relevant authorities to keep the above requirements up to date.


How we protect your health & safety
before, during and after your cruise

the ONBOARD EXPERIENCE

We are committed to preserving the uniqueness of the onboard experience whilst ensuring that your health and safety are protected. You will continue to enjoy unique experiences including award-winning shows, world-class dining, excursions, family activities, boutique shopping, beauty and fitness services, engaging events and much more. Onboard services are subject to changes based on local regulations or other restrictions, in the context of the COVID-19 situation

faq

We prepared a list of Frequent Asked Quesions (FAQ) to quickly get answers to you for the most common questions

TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

- Are there any travel restrictions under the new protocol, such as current health status, past medical history or age?

Please note we will deny boarding in case of symptoms such as fever (>37,5 C C / 99.5 F), cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle/body aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat and loss of taste/smell in the 14 days prior to embarkation or potential exposure to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID 19 in the 14 days prior to embarkation.

For MSC Virtuosa’ sailings around the British Isles from 24th July onwards, updated policies apply: Guests will be considered “fully vaccinated” 14 days after receiving a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Guests who are fully vaccinated will be required to present evidence of this status prior to embarkation (i.e. NHS app, vaccination certificate or card). Failure to present evidence will result in refusal of embarkation.

All guests who are not fully vaccinated, specifically those who are under 18 years of age, who are medically exempt in relation to vaccination, who have not yet received their second vaccine dose, or who will be less than 14 days since their second dose at the time of departure of the cruise, will need to have taken a PCR (molecular) or antigen (lateral flow) test within the last 72 hours prior to arrival at the terminal for embarkation. Proof of a negative test result will be requested at the terminal and we will accept evidence such as an email, SMS or a printed document. The test is not required for fully-vaccinated (any proof of vaccination needed) or under 2 years old guests.

However, as per our stringent MSC Health & Safety protocol, all guests both vaccinated and unvaccinated, will need to undergo some Health and COVID 19 screenings including a COVID 19 swab test, a health questionnaire and a contactless temperature check, before boarding the ship.


For non-domestic cruises, we will welcome only passengers from Schengen countries (see next question for more information). Please note that all Guests will need to follow one of these requirements:

 

• Undergo a molecular or antigen test within 48 hours prior to the ship’s departure (not required for passengers under 2 years old)

• Be fully vaccinated (i.e full set of vaccine shots received more than 14 days before the start of the cruise, vaccines accepted: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson)

• Have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 6 months.

A COVID-19 test or Passenger locator form (PLF) may still be necessary for national or international mobility requirement: it’s every guest’s responsibility to verify this requirement before departure. In addition, a Passenger Locator Form needs as well to be filled in before entering in Italy (more information here).

The original test results, vaccination or recovery certificate must be presented at the terminal (paper or electronic format and must be in English, Italian, German, French or Spanish) in order to embark on the ship. The test certificate must contain: guest’s personal data (verifiable with the other travel documents), date of the test, identification / contact details of the centre that performed the analysis, technique used and negative test result.

The current advice from the World Health Organization, EU Healthy Gateways and other authorities is that COVID-19 is often more severe in people who are older or who have health conditions like lung or heart disease, diabetes or conditions that affect their immune system. Older guests or those with such conditions are advised to consult with a doctor or their local health authorities for guidance before travelling to assess whether they should be travelling at this time. According to the EU Healthy Gateways advisory, anyone over 65 years of age is considered part of a higher risk group.


- Are there any travel restrictions for certain nationalities or countries of residence that may prevent guests from being allowed on board?

For MSC Virtuosa’ sailings around the British Isles in the upcoming months, we will initially only welcome guests who are residents in the United Kingdom.

For cruises non-domestic cruises, we will welcome guests who are residents in the 26 European ‘Schengen’ countries (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) and Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Croatia.

Non-Schengen residents (except for Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia) are currently not allowed to sail because of international and national travel restrictions in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. This is applicable to cruises till end of July 2021. Any update will be shared in due time before their cruise. Our guests are kindly invited to regularly check the list for the latest updates. 

- Are there any specific requirements for guests already vaccinated against COVID-19?

The accelerated rollout of vaccines worldwide is a gamechanger for the health of our guests. Following the guidance from the World Health Organization, being vaccinated does not mean that you cannot put at risk other people. Therefore, the current health and safety protocols are absolutely critical for the wellbeing of our guests, crew and the communities that visit our ships. We are prepared for the hybrid situation of safely sailing with vaccinated and unvaccinated guests thanks to our stringent Health & safety measures such as COVID-10 test for all guests before embarking, social distancing and wearing masks. The current measures will remain in place in the upcoming months.
 
 

For MSC Virtuosa’ sailings around the British Isles from 24th July onwards, updated policies apply: Guests will be considered “fully vaccinated” 14 days after receiving a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Guests who are fully vaccinated will be required to present evidence of this status prior to embarkation (i.e. NHS app, vaccination certificate or card). Failure to present evidence will result in refusal of embarkation.

All guests who are not fully vaccinated, specifically those who are under 18 years of age, who are medically exempt in relation to vaccination, who have not yet received their second vaccine dose, or who will be less than 14 days since their second dose at the time of departure of the cruise, will need to have taken a PCR (molecular) or antigen (lateral flow) test within the last 72 hours prior to arrival at the terminal for embarkation. Proof of a negative test result will be requested at the terminal and we will accept evidence such as an email, SMS or a printed document. The test is not required for fully-vaccinated (any proof of vaccination needed) or under 2 years old guests.

However, as per our stringent MSC Health & Safety protocol, all guests both vaccinated and unvaccinated, will need to undergo some Health and COVID 19 screenings including a COVID 19 swab test, a health questionnaire and a contactless temperature check, before boarding the ship.

- Is a COVID-19 insurance required to sail onboard MSC Virtuosa this Summer?

It is mandatory for all UK guests to be in possession of Covid-19 travel insurance prior to their holiday.

 

During the holiday that you have booked with us, you may be exposed to specific COVID-19 risks that may not be currently covered by your existing insurance policies. Should you need COVID-19 insurance cover, our travel insurance partner may be able to help you.

You can see the policy benefits available here to see if they are of interest and benefit for you. It is the passengers’ responsibility to have an insurance which includes COVID-19 related risks such as cancellation, repatriation expenses, quarantine, medical assistance and expenses, and hospitalisation. Please note that proof of insurance is a requirement to embark the ship and failure to produce it will unfortunately mean guests will be denied embarkation.

EMBARKATION / DISEMBARKATION

- Do guests need to provide any medical documents to show that they are COVID-19 negative at embarkation/disembarkation?

Before boarding, all guests must complete a health questionnaire and report any symptoms of illness or potential exposure to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to embarkation. All guests must undergo a contactless temperature check. All guests (over 2 years old) will undertake a COVID-19 screening (antigen swab test) at the cruise terminal before boarding, to ensure they are healthy and fit to travel. Depending on the screening results, guests may participate in a secondary review with medical professionals or be denied boarding.
 

For MSC Virtuosa’ sailings around the British Isles from 24th July onwards, updated policies apply: Guests will be considered “fully vaccinated” 14 days after receiving a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. Guests who are fully vaccinated will be required to present evidence of this status prior to embarkation (i.e. NHS app, vaccination certificate or card). Failure to present evidence will result in refusal of embarkation.

All guests who are not fully vaccinated, specifically those who are under 18 years of age, who are medically exempt in relation to vaccination, who have not yet received their second vaccine dose, or who will be less than 14 days since their second dose at the time of departure of the cruise, will need to have taken a PCR (molecular) or antigen (lateral flow) test within the last 72 hours prior to arrival at the terminal for embarkation. Proof of a negative test result will be requested at the terminal and we will accept evidence such as an email, SMS or a printed document. The test is not required for fully-vaccinated (any proof of vaccination needed) or under 2 years old guests.

However, as per our stringent MSC Health & Safety protocol, all guests both vaccinated and unvaccinated, will need to undergo some Health and COVID 19 screenings including a COVID 19 swab test, a health questionnaire and a contactless temperature check, before boarding the ship.


For non-domestic cruises, we will welcome only passengers from Schengen countries. Please note that all Guests will need to follow one of these requirements:
 
• Undergo a molecular or antigen test within 48 hours prior to the ship’s departure (not required for passengers under 2 years old)
• Be fully vaccinated (i.e full set of vaccine shots received more than 14 days before the start of the cruise, vaccines accepted: Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson)
• Have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 6 months.
 
A COVID-19 test or Passenger locator form (PLF) may still be necessary for national or international mobility requirement: it’s every guest’s responsibility to verify this requirement before departure. In addition, a Passenger Locator Form needs as well to be filled in before entering in Italy (more information here).

The original test results, vaccination or recovery certificate must be presented at the terminal (paper or electronic format and must be in English, Italian, German, French or Spanish) in order to embark on the ship. The test certificate must contain: guest’s personal data (verifiable with the other travel documents), date of the test, identification / contact details of the centre that performed the analysis, technique used and negative test result.

- What will happen if embarkation is denied to a guest for health reasons?

If a guest presents symptoms of illness such as temperature higher than 37.5°C / 99.5°F or there are concerns with their health questionnaire, they will undertake a secondary screening, including in-depth interview, a second temperature measurement, a medical examination and, if necessary, a laboratory examination.

If a guest is then not considered fit to travel, they will be assisted in their next steps of a return home or will be potentially being treated in a local medical facility to ensure maximum support and care.

- What safety protocols will be implemented on transfers and shuttles?

We are extending our enhanced health and hygiene measures to all MSC transfers, including:


- Cleaning and sanitisation of all vehicles before any new group of guests

- Availability of hand sanitisation stations and disinfectant mats for footwear

- Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all drivers

- Reduced number of guests with selected seats empty to ensure social distancing

 

- How are you cleaning and sanitising the guest cabins?

According to our enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols, every guest cabin will be thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis, with special attention to 40 frequently-touched areas, such as door handles, power switches, control panels, remote controls, desks and bathroom surfaces.

Every cabin will be deep cleaned at the end of each cruise before the next guests arrive for their holiday.

- How often are you sanitising public areas?

All public areas and public restrooms will be deep cleaned and sprayed with disinfectant each night, as well as regularly sanitised throughout the day.  For example, public toilets will be cleaned every 20 minutes, and all cleaning staff will wear appropriate PPE.

- What measures are you taking for the disembarkation process at the end of a cruise?

To ensure that all guests are disembarked safely and efficiently, we are providing detailed, step-by-step information, allocated time slots and a complimentary face mask for their journey home. 


All luggage will be sanitised before departure and staff wearing appropriate protective equipment will direct guests to avoid congestions at the gangway.

Boarding for the next sailing will only commence once all guests have disembarked, avoiding any cross-over.

- How will the check-in take place?

Before the cruise, the collection of contact details for each guest is mandatory in case of important updates. Proceeding to the web check-in allow guests to receive cruise tickets, travel documentation and mandatory health questionnaires. On the embarkation day, guests should arrive at the time indicated on the cruise ticket to facilitate responsible social distancing, with travel documentation and health questionnaires. All guests (as of 2 years old) will undertake a COVID-19 health screening and a swab test. A newly designed processes for embarkation has been implemented to manage the guest flow, to limit lines and contacts. Before the cruise, MSC Cruises invites all guests to download for free the MSC for Me app to start booking additional services, to secure space and to ensure a seamless onboard experience. 
 

ONBOARD MEDICAL SERVICES

- What happens if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 on board?

The preventative health and safety steps in the protocol are designed to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission on board. In the event that someone should fall sick, we have a fully equipped onboard 24/7 Medical Centre with highly qualified medical staff who are fully trained for COVID-19 treatment and who are supported by a 24/7 ashore medical team. 

In case of flu-like symptoms, guests should notify immediately the Medical Centre and free treatment will be provided. If the onboard medical team determines a suspected COVID-19 case, a comprehensive isolation procedure and response plan will be activated in close cooperation with the health authorities.
 

- Have you agreed with specific ports that they will welcome your ships that have positive cases on board for medical assistance ashore?

Yes. As part of our comprehensive and enhanced health and safety protocol, we have a contingency response plan in place with all the relevant authorities in the ports where the ships will call. 

- Do you have certified COVID-19 tests on board your ships?

We have COVID-19 testing equipment on board for Real Time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and antigen swab testing.
 

- How the health of anyone on board is monitored?

All MSC Cruises’ ships are equipped with state-of-the-art medical services and an increased number of qualified medical staff onboard, supported by dedicated 24/7 ashore Medical Team. We continuously monitor the health of our guests and crew with contactless temperature checks during the cruise; in case of flu-like symptoms, guests should immediately notify the Medical Centre and free treatment will be provided.


For sailings in the upcoming months, all guests will undergo an additional swab test during the cruise whilst on board, on top of the existing pre-boarding COVID-19 testing. The test is mandatory.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

- Will social distancing rules be applied onboard? 

We have redesigned activities, adapted our services and reduced venue capacity to ensure that our guests can easily adhere to current social distancing recommendations, both onboard and ashore. 


Guests will be reminded of social distancing guidelines at the time of booking and during their cruise through signage, public announcements, in-cabin TV and staff engagement.

- Will guests be required to wear a mask?

MSC Cruises will organise activities to ensure that guests can practice responsible social distancing. Face masks will be required when in public areas indoors, however masks do not need to be worn when seated in restaurants, bars and lounges.

 

Face masks will be available throughout the cruise. We also advise all guests to wear a face mask when travelling to and from the port and in the terminal, in compliance with local regulations.

DINE & DRINK

- How will the Main Dining experience change?

Our main restaurants will continue to serve our guests with a wide array of inspiring dishes and high-quality cuisine. We are modifying the seating layout to enable safe physical distancing, and guests will have the same table and waiter throughout their cruise for extra peace of mind. 

 

We are elevating our strict food safety protocols by enhancing the cleaning and sanitising of all venues, providing appropriate protective equipment to all servers and increasing the number of hand sanitisation stations at all restaurants. 

 

Face masks do not need to be worn by our guests when seated in the restaurants, but only when entering the venue.

- Will the self-service at buffet be available?

At the buffet the food will be plated and served by our crew.

- Will Specialty Restaurants be open?

Yes, our sought-after Specialty Restaurants will be open while operating at a reduced capacity to comply with the precautionary health and safety measures. Reservations are available at the time of booking to help guests secure spaces and save money compared to onboard prices. Book now your Speciality Restaurant.

- Will there be any changes to the bars and lounges?

Our bars will be open and ready to serve our guests with their favourite cocktail or aperitif. To ensure we comply with the current social distancing recommendations, our staff will deliver drinks at the table and we will limit the capacity of each venue. Face masks do not need to be worn by our guests when seated in bars and lounges, but only when entering the venue.
 

- How I can prebook my drinks or restaurants onboard?

You can save time by personalising your cruise even before getting onboard. Through your Personal Area you can easily add drink packages or dining experiences to your cruise and take advantage of our pre-boarding rates. 
 

- How I can get the restaurants and drinks menu at bars and restaurants?

For a contactless experience, guests will access restaurant and bar menus from their personal mobile device by scanning a QR code whilst on board. Before the cruise, MSC Cruises invites all guests to download for free the MSC for Me app to browse all the onboard restaurants, bars and lounges and to ensure a seamless onboard experience like making restaurant reservations.
 

ENTERTAINMENT, SERVICES & EXCURSIONS

- Will guests still be able to enjoy the theatre shows and other activities? 

Guests will be required to wear a face mask when in the theatre. Guests will enjoy our onboard award-winning entertainment but with a few changes:

- We are reducing the capacity of the theatre to allow for empty seats between guests
- The entertainment programme will be extended so that all guests can enjoy our award-winning shows
- Shows and activities will be pre-booked to manage the number of participants
- Guests will be required to wear a face mask when in the theatre
 

- Will the Kids Club be open and what kind of kids’ activities will be available?

Our Kids Club and family activities will welcome kids and parents in a healthy and safe environment fun and enjoyable experience.

New measures include reduced capacity, a streamlined registration process, contactless temperature check and hand sanitizer provided upon entry. We're adding new exciting activities and family game shows that will be available for booking up to one day in advance. Toys and water will be provided by our staff, while we'll keep out personal belongings as an additional safety measure.

Onboard services are subject to changes based on local regulations or other restrictions, in the context of the COVID-19 situation. Please note MSC Babycare (dedicated to babies and toddlers under 3 years old) won’t be temporarily available onboard our ships.

- Will you still have Spa and Fitness services available to guests? 

All MSC Aurea Spa and Fitness facilities and services will be available* with enhanced health and sanitation measures, extended opening hours and reduced capacity in public spaces. Onboard services are subject to changes based on local regulations or other restrictions, in the context of the COVID-19 situation. For their health and comfort, guests will pre-book spa treatments, fitness sessions and thermal area visits by phone.

Fitness machines and equipment, spa areas and treatment rooms will be thoroughly sanitised after each use as well as deep-cleaned and disinfected every night.

All Spa staff have been trained on rigorous health and sanitation measures and will wear appropriate protective equipment. 

Book now your Spa Packages! 

 

*Depending on ship-class, the following experiences will be closed until further notice: Saunas, Steam Rooms, Heat Baths Whirlpools, Ice & Snow Experiences. Salt Relax Room, Harmonic Relax Rooms, Experience Showers, Heated Loungers will remain open to our guests.

- Will guests be able to use the casino?

The casino remains fully functional under the new protocol with added sanitation and social distancing measures in place, including frequent sanitising of chips, replacing playing cards on a regular basis and a reduced number of seats at gaming tables. 

- Will there be any restrictions to visit some ports?

If you wish to go ashore during your cruise, you can only do so by participating in one of our MSC Shore Excursions to ensure the same high standards of health and safety ashore as on board.