Health & Safety protocol | MSC Cruises Play


Our priority is the health and safety of our guests and crew

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. The below measures are applicable to sailings in the upcoming months. 

MSC Cruises is confident that by next summer all the hard work done by so many people in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic will ensure your cruise with us will be as normal as it can be, both on board and ashore.

travel requirements by destination

Please select your cruise destination below

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


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


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?

Discover in protected excursions: To go ashore during your cruise, we highly recommend you to participate in one of our MSC Shore Excursions to ensure the same high standards of health and safety ashore as on board. Not all destinations allow independent disembarkation and it may depend on the traveller’s vaccination status.

Some excursions will require the EU digital COVID certificate (Green pass) or, from extra Schengen countries travelers, the equivalent Covid certificate.

More information on the FAQ section.



- Are there any travel restrictions or travel requirements for the current cruise programme?

Before booking your cruise, please check HERE if you are allowed to embark according to your country of residence. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there might be international travel restrictions depending on your cruise destination and your country of residence.

In addition, travel requirements might be different according to your cruise destination. Please select your destination below:

Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Qatar
Red Sea & Saudi Arabia
Northern Europe
MSC Grand Voyages & MSC World Cruise

- What is the MSC Covid-19 Protection Plan?

As during a cruise, you may be exposed to specific COVID-19 risks that may not be usually covered by existing insurance policies, to ensure your peace of mind is mandatory for all guests to have in place an insurance policy that specifically covers them against COVID-19 related risks, such as cancellation, interruption, repatriation expenses, quarantine, medical assistance and related expenses, as well as hospitalization. This should be in place to cover you from the confirmation of your booking until the end of the cruise or your cruise and flight package.

It is mandatory for all guests embarking a MSC cruise ship to have a comprehensive Covid insurance policy. 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.

Alternatively, you may purchase another insurance coverage of your choice provided that the above risks are covered.

With immediate effect, for all new reservations on Winter 21/22 cruises. Guests will be required to provide evidence of their insurance policy and this should include the details of the insurer, the insured amounts and full details of the COVID-19 coverage such as cancellation, interruption, repatriation expenses, quarantine, medical assistance and expenses, and hospitalization.

The proof of the insurance policy (e.g. certificate, schedule, policy summary) which must be in English, Italian, German, French or Spanish - clearly showing the COVID-19 coverage - must be presented at embarkation. Passengers failing to provide this documentation will be denied boarding.

For any additional information please refer to our Contact Center or consult your Travel Agent.






- Is it possible to get tested during the cruise to comply with regulations from my travel back home?

For all sailings in the upcoming months, to ensure the highest standards of health and safety and allow a safe return home to our Guests in compliance with national regulations, MSC Cruises has organized the possibility for its guests to purchase and perform a molecular test (i.e RT-PCR) or an antigen test during their cruise.

The molecular test will be charged 80 euros. The tests will be organized to comply with the 48h or 72h test validity to return to your country according to your national regulations. The antigenic test is always available for 25 euros. These tests do not substitute the complimentary covid tests performed on board to comply with our comprehensive health and safety protocol.

- 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. 


- 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 all sailings in the upcoming months, guests may need to undergo an additional swab test during the cruise whilst on board, on top of the existing pre-boarding COVID-19 testing. When required, the test is mandatory.


- 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.


- 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.


- 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?

Guests who are fully vaccinated will be able to go ashore independently and will need to follow the requirements of going ashore according to the countries they will visit.  To go ashore during the cruise, MSC Cruises highly recommends to participate in one of or MSC Shore Excursions to ensure the same high standards of health and safety ashore as on board. Not all destinations allow independent disembarkation and it may depend on the traveller’s vaccination status. Guests that are not fully vaccinated will not be allowed to go ashore unless they purchase an MSC Excursion. Those Guests who are not fully vaccinated or who have unvaccinated children in their travelling party, will need to go ashore with an MSC Excursion. For example: A family of four, two adults and two children under 11 years old: All guests will be required to participate in an MSC Excursion for not fully vaccinated guests.

For cruises in the Mediterranean it will be possible to go ashore only by participating in one of the MSC Shore Excursions to ensure the same high standards of health and safety ashore as on board.

MSC Cruises reserves the right not to admit on board any Guests who disembarked the ship on its own in breach of the above rules. When ashore, Guests are required to strictly adhere to the measures adopted by the tour guide and/or prescribed by the local Authorities.

MSC Cruises offers a large variety of shore excursions. Some excursions are available only to Guests holding the EU Digital Covid Certificate/Green pass or, from extra Schengen countries Travelers, the equivalent COVID certificate, while other excursions are open to those not in its possession, guaranteeing in both cases the highest health and safety standards. More information about the tours are available here. Please note that Guests holding the EU Digital COVID Certificate/Green pass or the equivalent COVID certificate (such as the NHS certificate*), travelling with children over 12 years who do not hold an EU Digital COVID Certificate/Green card or the equivalent COVID certificate (for extra Schengen countries Travelers), will be considered as Guests not holding the EU Digital COVID Certificate/Green pass or the equivalent COVID certificate (for extra Schengen countries Travelers), for excursions purposes: children will be requested to do the free covid test on board to participate to the excursion (or the booked excursion will need to be changed for another tour not requiring the green pass).

*Please note that the vaccination appointment card would not be considered sufficient proof.