Family Kicked Off Cruise Ship for Breaking New Health Protocols
On August 16, MSC Cruises became the first major cruise line to restart sailing in the Mediterranean since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic’s spread halted cruising operations the world over.
Just a few days into their itinerary, a family aboard that first sailing of the carrier’s flagship MSC Grandiosa have reportedly been kicked off the cruise in the middle of a seven-night voyage out of Genoa, which stops at several Italian ports before concluding in Valletta, Malta.
The unnamed guests were apparently on a ship-sponsored shore excursion yesterday when they decided to go off on their own to explore the city, separating from the group. This was the error in judgment that caused the remainder of their voyage with MSC to be forfeited.
Among the myriad of COVID-19 precautionary measures that the cruise line has implemented in order to safely begin sailing again is a rule against guests disembarking at ports unless they’re participating in a guided, MSC-organized shore excursion and remain with the group at all times.
“In line with our health and safety protocol, developed to ensure health and wellbeing of our guests, crew and the communities we visit, we had to deny re-embarkation to a family who broke from their shore excursion yesterday,” MSC Cruises told The Points Guy. “By departing from the organized shore excursion, 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.”
The cruise line’s policy on this point is intended to limit and monitor the types of interactions that guests might have with locals while visiting port towns and avoid having passengers bring the virus back on board after their tour. Once a passenger strays out of the protective “bubble”, the cruise line reasons, there’s no knowing whether they’ve come into contact with someone infected with the coronavirus.
The principle also operates in reverse, protecting residents of those towns from any risk of passengers who might be carrying COVID-19 (although, all guests have been tested prior to embarkation).
MSC Cruises also noted that its present excursions are designed for social distancing and that the tour buses it uses are thoroughly sanitized, with drivers and local guides required to undergo health screenings and don personal protective gear.