MSC Cruises cracked down on passengers who broke newly implemented COVID-19 health and safety protocol as the cruise line’s ships resume sailing after the pandemic shut the global industry down in March.
On Tuesday, the cruise line denied a family from getting back on board the MSC Grandiosa after an excursion during which MSC Cruises says they broke from the “social bubble” put in place to avoid the spread of coronavirus. The Grandiosa departed from Genoa, Italy, Sunday on what was billed as the first Mediterranean cruise after Italy’s pandemic lockdown.
“We had to deny re-embarkation to a family who broke from their shore excursion yesterday while visiting Naples, Italy,” Paige Rosenthal, spokesperson for MSC Cruises, told USA TODAY Wednesday.
Among the other port calls for the Grandiosa are Palermo, Italy, and Valletta, Malta. Malta is one of four Mediterranean countries from which Italy requires incoming travelers to have COVID-19 tests.
The MSC Grandiosa departed from Genoa on Sunday on what was billed as the first Mediterranean cruise after Italy’s pandemic lockdown.
MSC stopped the family from getting on the ship to ensure the health and safety of passengers and crew on board, she explained, noting that because the group departed from the organized shore excursion, they would pose a risk to others upon getting back on the Grandiosa.
“This family broke from the ‘social bubble’ created for them and all other guests, and therefore could not be permitted to re-board the ship,” Rosenthal said.
Organized shore excursions allow MSC to “uphold the same high standards” she said are being maintained on board.
Some of those measures include:
Ensuring transportation to and from the ship is sanitary.
Adequate space for social distancing.
Tour guides and drivers that have undergone health screening and wear personal protective equipment.
On board MSC’s ships, precautions are in place, too.
Anyone testing positive or who has a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms will be denied boarding, the company said. Passengers must wear face masks in elevators and other areas where social distancing is not possible. The ship’s crew spent time in quarantine before the start of the cruise.
Earlier this month, the Italian government gave its approval for cruise ships to once again depart from Italy’s ports. But cruise ships are being limited to 70% capacity.
For now, MSC is limiting its guests to those who are residents of Europe’s 26-nation Schengen visa-free travel zone.
MSC said every guest and crew member on board will be given a wristband that “facilitates contactless transactions around the ship as well as providing contact and proximity tracing.”
MSC declined to say how many passengers were sailing on this cruise.
Cruising remains on hold in U.S. waters until Nov. 1, at the earliest.
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Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MSC Cruises: COVID-19 protocol broken by family on excursion