GENOA – The first major cruise ship to set sail in the Mediterranean was due to depart from Genoa, Italy on Sunday evening. As the cruise industry hopes for better days after a devastating hiatus due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The departure of MSC Grandiosa, of the MSC Cruises company, from the port of Genoa (north-west), represents a high-stakes test for the cruise sector, both in the key Mediterranean market and beyond. .
She schedule to the ports of Civitavecchia near Rome, Naples, Palermo and Valletta, Malta, on this 7-day cruise.
“I couldn’t miss the first cruise after COVID,” Rosalba Scarrone told AFP, who was about to board.
“I have been on 87 cruises, can you imagine how much I have suffered from not leaving since February?” added this 64-year-old blogger specializing in cruises.
The cruise line industry has been battered by the economic crisis stemming from the health crisis, but also by criticism of its handling of the coronavirus on board ships at the start of the pandemic.
MSC Cruises competitor, Costa Cruises (a subsidiary of Carnival), has chosen to delay the partial resumption of its cruises until September.
All eyes of the cruise line will be on the Grandiosa after the hiccups of a small Norwegian company.
Hurtigruten force earlier this month to suspend its cruises again after the coronavirus. Contamination of dozens of passengers and members of the crew.
Global health officials have criticized. The slow response of cruise lines to the spread of the virus before ships came to a complete halt in March. On board, the buffets and sports halls continued to operate and personal protective equipment was sorely lacking.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University in the United States. The providing by CLIA, 3,047 cases and 73 deaths after contamination on board cruise ships affiliated with the association.
MSC Cruises, for its part, affirms that its new security protocol exceeds national and industry standards. At the boarding terminal, before boarding, passengers and will test crew for COVID-19 by blood test. And check their temperature daily.