London, UK - 18 March 2021 - MSC Cruises announced today that it will offer a special range of short breaks and week-long cruises around the British Isles this summer starting from 20 May, for UK holidaymakers only.
Departing from the new terminal in the port of Southampton these first sailings will kick off with a series of short cruises and will be followed by 7-night sailings visiting some of the UK’s favourite destinations and offering additional ports of embarkation to guests.
Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director MSC Cruises UK & Ireland said: “It’s time for UK holidaymakers to get back on board and enjoy a well-deserved break from what has been a very challenging 12 months for everyone in so many ways. MSC Cruises is a family-owned company and our guests are an extension of that, so we are looking forward to welcoming them and their families back on board. Our hope is to offer every type of holidaymaker the chance to escape this summer - from grandparents to teens and even the smallest of passengers looking to explore.
“We will welcome both vaccinated and non-vaccinated guests. All guests will be tested prior to embarkation, while non-vaccinated guests will also be required to show proof of negative test done within 72 hours prior to embarkation.
“Crew in addition to the protocol-mandated test and 14-day quarantine prior to embarkation will also receive weekly testing, in addition to other ongoing health monitoring measures.
“Since our restart of cruise operations in August last year, when our flagship MSC Grandiosa was the first ship to return at sea and offer guests full cruises in the Mediterranean, we have carried more than 50,000 guests under the protection of our industry-leading health and safety protocol. It is built around a comprehensive strategy that includes universal testing of all guests and crew prior to embarkation and periodically throughout the cruise, deep and ongoing sanitation, protected-only shore excursions, as well as many other measures that we are used to in our daily lives, such as social distancing and the wearing of face coverings. We will sail with a reduced capacity so that guests have even more space.
“Our industry-leading protocol was developed with input from international health experts – including our own “Blue-Ribbon” expert group - and in close cooperation with relevant health, transport and safety authorities and was designed to respond to a fluctuating health situation ashore. This allowed us to support continued cruise operations in the Mediterranean through to today, safely welcoming guests on board from across the Schengen area throughout the different phases of the evolution of the pandemic in the various countries.
“Our UK customers can be assured that we will continue to adapt the protocol in line with relevant requirements and guidance, to provide the same seamless experience they are used to when cruising.
“We understand how important this particular summer is to holidaymakers and we’re committed to providing guests with a range of fantastic activities in a healthy and safe environment. Guests can expect a variety of fun and engaging areas for children with play areas for a range of ages and world-class dining and round-the-clock entertainment offerings that provide multi-generational groups with a holiday option that suits this summer.
“We are also working on a programme of protected shore excursions for our guests to experience the destinations we will visit following our successful experience since last summer in other markets, but of course this is subject to prevailing circumstances and local guidance at the time of sailing.”
“We believe that this special offering will provide UK holidaymakers with a unique summer of cruising and be the ultimate destination for families and friends to reconnect and create new memories this summer.
"In the meantime, we continue to engage with the UK Government and all relevant authorities as we evaluate the ever-changing travel landscape and prepare for any potential roadblocks that could arise as we journey on the roadmap to recovery. Whilst we are excited for a summer of British cruising, we remain confident that we will soon be able to welcome UK guests back on board further afield.
“Further details regarding our UK sailings will be announced shortly, but we want guests to be assured that providing flexibility remains our top priority, so that they feel confident when booking their summer holiday with MSC Cruises.”