MSC Cruises has been forced to delay the resumption of cruises aboard MSC Magnifica by at least four weeks due to the recent introduction of additional testing measures for residents of Italy having traveled to Greece.
MSC Magnifica will resume cruises on September 26th instead of the end of August due to the additional travel restrictions for Italian resident that travel to Greece, where three of the port calls on the new itineraries are located.
All of MSC Magnifica’s cruise departures from August 29 to September 19 have been cancelled and her first cruise will now depart from Bari, Italy with an unchanged itinerary on September 26th.
“We are seeing cancellations and a softening in demand since the ship’s itinerary includes as many as three ports in that country,” MSC Cruises said in a statement. “This has led to the decision to delay the restart of the ship by four weeks.”
MSC added that it believes the cancellations are a short-term reaction, and that reservations will start to pick up again due to the appeal of the itinerary.
Although MSC Magnifica’s sales are open to all residents of the Schengen area (unlike Costa Cruises), in this early phase of the restart MSC expects the majority of guests to be Italian nationals and residents.
The move comes as MSC Cruises completes the first of several resumed cruises aboard MSC Grandiosa, which is currently offering seven-night cruises with embarkation in the Italian ports of Genoa, Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo and also calling at Valletta, Malta.
This week MSC Cruises also confirmed that it had turned away a party of 15 people because one of them tested positive for the antigen test and a second molecular level test, which is conducted in the terminal prior to boarding.
The guests were due to board MSC Grandiosa in Genoa for her second cruise since resuming service, according to the cruise line.
“Other than that, life on board during the first and the early phases of the next cruise ran smoothly, with guests enjoying every bit of the specialty restaurants, cafés and shops that our flagship has to offer. Similarly, many of the shore excursions on offer – we call them protected ashore visits, were sold out,” MSC said, in a statement.
During the ship’s first cruise since the resumption, a group of passengers who left the ‘protected shore excursion’ were denied permission to re-board the ship as they’d come into contact with the public.
However, last Saturday while the ship was on her way back to Genoa from Valletta, all guests who went ashore in Malta took the mandatory testing required by the Italian authorities prior to re-entering Italy. All tested negative.