MSC Announces Temporary Stop to Operations

MSC Seaside

MSC Cruises has announced the decision to temporary stop all its U.S.-based new cruises embarkations for 45 days until April 30.

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said: “This is not a decision we took lightly but under the current circumstances, the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities ashore – including our employees and their families – must come first. As a family company with over 300 years of maritime tradition, we felt that this was the right decision to make.”

The Company has already also halted ship operations across all areas considered as high risk for the virus, in the Mediterranean, the Gulf and Asia.

Ships still in operations in South America and South Africa will also end their operations at the end of their current itineraries.

Coronavirus: MSC cruise ship rejected from two Caribbean ports as crew member falls ill

Image result for MSC meraviglia in the caribbean

CRUISES have been hard hit by the outbreak of Coronavirus and yesterday MSC Meraviglia was rejected from two Caribbean ports amid fears that a crew member on board the MSC Cruises ship was sick.
Cruise ship MSC Meraviglia was turned away from two ports in the Caribbean on Tuesday. The rejection came amid fears of the spread of coronavirus. The MSC Meraviglia was denied permission to dock in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Georgetown, Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.

Authorities were concerned the sickness was a result of coronavirus.

However, the cruise line claims his illness is down to common seasonal flu and insist no cases of coronavirus have been reported on any MSC ships.

MSC is “extremely disappointed” with the double rejection.

The ship is now sailing onward to Cozumel, Mexico, the next scheduled port of call.

The Jamaican Ministry of Health released a statement yesterday.

It stated: “A cruise line with over 4,500 passengers and over 1,600 crew members was today (Tuesday, February 25, 2020) denied access to the port of call in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.

“The vessel arrived at approximately 8:30 a.m. and upon inspection by the Port Health Officials, it was discovered that a crew member was placed in isolation on board.

“The crew member had a cough, fever and associated muscle pains with a travel history to a country of interest relating to the COVID-19.”

Dwayne Seymour, health minister of the Cayman Islands, also released a statement.

He said: “In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to the health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, the government has denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled.”

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MSC have said that the sick crew member and all passengers onboard the Meraviglia had passed a health screening before boarding the ship at the weekend.

The cruise ship departed Miami on Sunday and was scheduled to complete a 15-day cruise of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Bahamas, Belize and Honduras, returning to Miami on March 8, according to an itinerary.

MSC said in a statement sent to Express.co.uk today: “MSC Cruises is extremely disappointed that Jamaican authorities yesterday delayed a decision for many hours to give our ship the necessary clearance to disembark guests, despite us having provided detailed medical records to the local health and national authorities ahead of its arrival as per normal protocol.

“Similarly, the decision taken overnight by the Grand Cayman authorities to refuse disembarkation at Georgetown was made without even reviewing the ship’s medical records, which show one single case of common seasonal flu (type A influenza) affecting one crew member with a travel history clearly showing no passages through territories either affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or subject to any international health restrictions. In both instances, the ship was effectively turned away simply based on fears.

“MSC Meraviglia is currently at sea on her way to Cozumel, Mexico, her next scheduled port of call.

Carnival and Norfolk ink 5-year deal

The Carnival-Norfolk press conference at the Half Moone Cruise Center.

The Carnival-Norfolk press conference at the Half Moone Cruise Center.

Carnival Cruise Line has signed a five-year agreement with the city of Norfolk, Va., to operate cruises from the Half Moone Cruise Center.

Norfolk has agreed to upgrade the port so it can accommodate larger ships. Improvements will include a new boarding bridge to streamline the embarkation and debarkation process.

The 130,000-gross-ton Carnival Magic will sail a series of 12 cruises from the port in 2021. It will be the largest cruise ship to sail from Norfolk, which has been welcoming Carnival cruises for almost 20 years.

The long-term commitment will elevate Carnival’s presence in the city and will give travellers in the Mid-Atlantic more cruising options to the Caribbean.

“Our cruises from Norfolk have been very well received by our guests, and this agreement speaks volumes about our confidence in growing the market,” said Carnival Cruise Lines president Christine Duffy.

“This commitment strengthens that partnership and solidifies Norfolk’s position as a true Mid-Atlantic cruise port,” Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander said.

The Carnival Magic’s 2021 schedule will have four- to eight-day cruises to the Caribbean. Reservations are open.

The Carnival Magic offers hundreds of balcony staterooms and suites. It also has a complimentary kids program in three age groups, the Cloud 9 spa, a WaterWorks aqua park, a variety of indoor and outdoor dining, and an entertainment promenade.

Before repositioning to Norfolk, the Carnival Magic will sail a series of voyages in the Mediterranean. It will then take a two-week drydock in Cadiz, Spain.