SA Cruise News

MSC Cruises says South African cruise season unaffected by national disaster declaration

MSC Orchestra will sail the remainder of her South African cruise season out of Durban and Cape Town, despite the state of national disaster declared by President Ramaphosa on Sunday evening.

The state of national disaster declared by the president is aimed at containing the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country, with cases nearing the 100 mark at the time of writing.

Among a series of measures announced, all but two of South Africa’s ports will be closed to passenger traffic, gatherings of more than 100 people will be banned and travel restrictions will be introduced for those coming from high-risk areas.

msc orchestra durban1

msc orchestra is nearing the end of her inaugural sa cruise season

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According to a statement from MSC Cruises’ South African office, the line has been in contact with the National Port Authority seeking clarification on the new measures and were informed that the seaport closures do not affect Durban or Cape-Town.

At the time of writing, it was the cruise line’s understanding that MSC Orchestra’s remaining roundtrip departures from Durban will continue as planned.

“We have requested to be notified as soon as clarification has been made and we will take guidance from the relevant authorities in South Africa,” the company said in a statement.

The move comes after MSC suspended cruise operations for eight ships in its fleet across several regions, given the increasing concern over the role that cruise ships can play in spreading the virus among a large number of people.

Those concerns prompted the full shut down of the entire North American cruise market for the next 30 days. MSC Cruises said that it would be complying with that order for 45 days.

“As the COVID-19 situation is now a global pandemic, governments across the globe are continuously reviewing ashore public health and safety measures to protect local populations and limit the further spread of the virus. MSC Cruises’ decision aims to mirror and further support the effectiveness of such efforts,” the line said at the time.

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durban and cape town ports remain open to passengers

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In South Africa, MSC Cruises has implemented additional pre-cruise screening for guests. Any passenger that has travelled to, from or through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Europe, South Korea, the United States, the UK, Canada or Iran, will be denied access to the ship.

Mandatory non-touch thermal scans will also be conducted for all guests and crew prior to embarkation, which is in line with measures for every cruise operated by MSC Cruises globally.

Passengers with signs or symptoms of the illness such as fever (≥38 C°) or feverishness, chills, cough or difficulty with breathing will be denied embarkation.

Any guest who, within 14 days before embarkation, has had close contact with or helped care for anyone suspected or diagnosed as having coronavirus, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to coronavirus, will be denied boarding.

“The safety of our passengers is of paramount importance. MSC Cruises undertakes to keep you informed of any further developments from relevant authorities and the port of Durban and if any changes are made to your cruise, this will be communicated with you,” the line added.

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