Timid signs of a restart in the cruise sector. After a 2020 of profound crisis, in which world cruising has practically stopped, with turnover losses of up to 95%, today we are trying to restart by adopting strict health protocols to transport tourists safely. Cruising is “one of the fundamental assets for our country” from a tourist point of view, underlined today the Minister of Tourism Massimo Garavaglia, during a press conference on board the MSC Grandiosa, moored in the port of Civitavecchia (Rome), in on the occasion of his visit aimed at ‘touching firsthand’ the measures taken by the shipping company to make passengers travel safely.
“I was curious to see the cruise safety protocol in order to be able to enjoy this service peacefully. – said Garavaglia – Let many Italians know that you can safely go on a cruise, even in this period, is a good sign of optimism,” what we need. ”
But the recovery in demand for the cruise sector will be gradual in 2021. And, considering that 30 million people went on cruises in 2019, the crisis in the sector is evident. “Today hundreds of ships and thousands of operators in the sector are stopped, we at MSC were the first to leave in August with only one of the 18 ships we have in our fleet and we have safely transported, from August to today, over 40 thousand passengers. in the western Mediterranean “said Leonardo Massa, managing director of MSC Cruises, taking stock of the crisis that has hit the sector.
‘ensuring operator safety is a priority but accelerating vaccines for all’
Garavaglia also spoke on the issue of vaccines for tourism operators. “It is clear that it is a priority, when there is a strong desire for ‘safe mobility’ this is one of the key points: guaranteeing the safety of operators”. However, Garavaglia added “if we speed up vaccinations then we don’t even need priorities anymore because if you vaccinate everyone, you have solved the problem”.
The giant of the sea, at the moment, hosts 2,000 passengers on board, mostly Italians, on a maximum capacity of 6,400 and strictly applies the health and safety protocol of MSC Cruises which provides for the universal screening of all passengers and crew members. before boarding via Covid-19 antigen swab (and a second swab mid-cruise), sanitation of all hand and hold baggage, enhanced sanitation and cleaning measures throughout the ship, social distancing on board, the use of masks in public areas provided by the company on a daily basis.
In addition, all guests are given a ‘smart’ bracelet that allows them to carry out all operations in contactless mode, such as opening the cabin door or making payments, and also helps to trace proximity contacts if necessary.
The strict and precise standards of the health and safety protocol are applied in a similar way also for all shore excursions where guests remain within the so-called ‘social bubble’, protecting both themselves and the local communities that host them. during shore visits.
The MSC Grandiosa cruise left from Genoa and touches the ports of Civitavecchia, Naples, Palermo, Malta to return to Genoa next Sunday. While the second ship that will return to sail from May 1st is the MSC Seaside, also in the western Mediterranean, with weekly cruises and new stops in Taranto and Syracuse. (by Cristina Armeni)