FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY REMAINS A FIRM FAVOURITE ON BOARD, SAYS MATTEO MANCINI, CHILDREN’S ENTERTAINMENT MANAGER
What changes did you make to the Kids Club in terms of health and safety measures?
We follow a strict protocol ensuring all children and teenagers on a cruise to play and have fun in complete safety. We have introduced a “check point” at the entrance of the kids area, providing four mandatory steps: mask for everyone from 6 years old up, fever’s check, disinfection of hands and shoes. The number of children entering the youth areas is also strictly monitored: groups are reduced to a maximum capacity to ensure social distancing between everyone. With these comprehensive measures, along with our general pre-boarding and onboard measures, MSC Cruises can give families the confidence to enjoy the safest vacation available in the market.
How did you adapt the overall kids’ activities and what kind of kids’ activities are available?
The great news is that we can safely guarantee all of our award-winning kids’ program to entertain children of all ages. We continue to offer everything that we used to do and that is much loved by our young guests. All the activities, however, have been rechecked and apdated in their execution to avoid contacts and gatherings among kids. I will give you two examples: before the global pandemic, the exciting cooking competition "MasterChef At Sea Juniors" could welcome up to 40 children on stage at the same time. Today we don't exceed 10 children at a time, in strictly single and spaced out positions and all wearing masks. In sports, we no longer play group games involving contact and an exchange of the ball, but individual challenges such as penalties shots and baskets with scores ensuring that the balls are properly sanitised and not passed from hand to hand.
How many kids are sailing with MSC Cruises since the restart of operations in August 2020?
Over 5,000! That is an extraordinary number. MSC Cruises this year had led the way not only in the international cruise industry but also in the entire entertainment business. During the first lockdown, we entertained thousands of children through our MSC original contents on the official YouTube MSC Cruises channel (web series, cartoons, music videos). From August 2020 onwards, while all the theatres and most schools around the world were still closed, and no family live shows available, we reopened the Kids Clubs on board in complete safety with our industry leading health and safety protocol and family live shows are even garanteed in the theatre and Sportplex. We keep at heart the responsibility of offering the safest holidays to our family guests, and we are pleased to have succeeded thanks to our protocol. I recently learned of a well-known television production company that studied MSC Cruises as an example, before returning to produce their own shows. That's making a difference.
Can you explain what feedback you received from the families regarding their time spent in the Kids Club?
All extremely positive feedback and incredible gratitude. During lockdown, all parents had the opportunity to spend so much time with their children at home. We've noticed, since the reopening of our clubs, the incredible eagerness of parents to have their children play and stay with other children, and the same eagerness from the children and teens to break away from their parents. While before the pandemic we had 60% of children participating to our activities on board, today it has risen to 82%, taking into account different onboard locations as well as times and cruise days.
Did the crew receive additional training for operating in the Kids Club?
Absolutely and additional training was compulsory for our crew. We ensured two different additional trainings: one dedicated to MSC Cruises’ new comprehensive health and safety protocol and a second, more technical one, dedicated to the procedure in regards to the kids’ entertainment since the restart of our operations and the management of our clubs and activities regarding safety.