HEALTH & SAFETY MEASURES
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.
How we protect your health & safety
before, during and after your cruise
the ONBOARD EXPERIENCEWe 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
We prepared a list of Frequent Asked Quesions (FAQ) to quickly get answers to you for the most common questions
- Are there any travel restrictions under the new protocol, such as current health status, past medical history or age?
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.
- 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.
EMBARKATION / DISEMBARKATION
- Do guests need to provide any medical documents to show that they are COVID-19 negative at embarkation/disembarkation?
- What will happen if embarkation is denied to a guest for health reasons?
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?
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?
- What measures are you taking for the disembarkation process at the end of a cruise?
Boarding for the next sailing will only commence once all guests have disembarked, avoiding any cross-over.
- How will the check-in take place?
ONBOARD MEDICAL SERVICES
- What happens if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 on board?
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?
- Do you have certified COVID-19 tests on board your ships?
- 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.
- Will social distancing rules be applied onboard?
DINE & DRINK
- How will the Main Dining experience change?
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?
- Will there be any changes to the bars and lounges?
- How I can prebook my drinks or restaurants onboard?
- How I can get the restaurants and drinks menu at bars and restaurants?
ENTERTAINMENT, SERVICES & EXCURSIONS
- Will guests still be able to enjoy the theatre shows and other activities?
- 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?
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?
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.