MSC Cruises reports that it has further updated its screening procedures due to the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak. While there are no cases of coronavirus onboard any of MSC Cruises’ ships, the line said that it will take the following additional steps:
- Guests from all nationalities are required to fill out a pre-embarkation questionnaire to ensure no-one boards their ship who has traveled from mainland China or visited mainland China in the past 30 days. Anyone who has traveled from mainland China or visited mainland China in the past 30 days will be denied access to the ship;
- Mandatory non-touch thermal scans conducted for all guests and crew prior to embarkation for every cruise operated by the company anywhere in the world, and persons with signs or symptoms of illness such as fever (≥38 C°/100.4 F°) or feverishness, chills, cough or difficulty breathing will be denied embarkation;
- Elevated deep-sanitation on every ship in the line’s entire fleet;
- Guests who may have fever symptoms will be isolated in their stateroom and the same measure applies for their close contacts, including guests staying in the same stateroom and family members, as well as any crew member who may have served these guests.
These measures follow previous actions that were taken last week. Guests and crew who traveled last week from mainland China were already screened for symptoms upon embarkation, and were requested to report any symptoms of illness to the onboard medical center.
Earlier Thursday the line had also announced plans to redeploy the first embarkation port for the MSC Splendida’s Grand Voyage due to the situation. The ship, which is deployed in Asia for the winter 2019 – 2020 season, has cancelled its next three four- and five-night scheduled sailings from Shanghai, and it will reposition to Singapore to start its 27 Grand Voyage itinerary to the Middle East and Europe, departing February 14.
MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato noted that the sailing had been entirely booked with guests flying in from abroad, and that many major airlines have either canceled or reduced their flight frequency to China. The new embarkation port means that MSC will also cancel planned calls on the itinerary to Naha, Japan and Hong Kong, adding calls at Langkawi, Penang and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, plus Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, instead.
Customers who booked an outbound flight ticket to Asia may be eligible for a refund or possible re-protection to Singapore. Any pre-paid excursions to the cancelled ports of Naha, Japan, and Hong Kong, will be refunded to the customer’s shipboard account.
The MSC Splendida will dock in Singapore on Thursday, February 13, and guests can board the ship starting at 6:00 p.m. Singapore time and onwards. The ship will depart from Singapore on Friday, February 14 at 11:00 p.m. Singapore time. The ship’s February 1, 5 and 9 from Shanghai to Japan have been cancelled.