Family stopped from boarding cruise ship after breaking new coronavirus protocols

A family’s seven-night Mediterranean cruise holiday ended early in Naples after they were stopped from re-boarding their ship.

They were travelling on MSC Grandiosa, the first major cruise ship to set sail in the Mediterranean since all cruise trips were cancelled due to coronavirus.

It had departed on Sunday from Genoa, and was due to dock at Naples, Palermo and Valetta in Malta before returning to Italy.

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The passengers “broke from their shore excursion” during a stop in Naples, where they were denied boarding.

A spokesperson for the cruise line told The Independent: “In line with our health and safety protocol, developed to ensure the health and wellbeing of our guests, crew and the communities we visit, we had to deny re-embarkation to a family who broke from their shore excursion while visiting Naples, Italy.

“By departing from the organised shore excursion, this family broke from the ‘social bubble’ created for them and all other guests, and therefore could not be permitted to re-board the ship.”

A health measures flyer from the cruise line currently states: “It is recommended that guests go ashore with an MSC Cruises Shore Excursion, as they will follow the same high standards of health and safety as on board.”

But a statement announcing the cruise further clarified: ”Along the ship’s itinerary, guests will be able to go ashore to enjoy the different ports of call but only as part of an MSC Cruises shore excursion to enjoy the different ports of call as an added level of protection so that their experience ashore follows the same high standards of health and safety as on board”.

The MSC Cruises spokesperson said: “These organised shore excursions allow MSC Cruises to uphold the same high standard of health and safety as on board, for instance ensuring that transfers are properly sanitised and that there is adequate space for social distancing, and tour guides and drivers also undergo health screening and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).”

The cruise line has introduced a number of new measures to ensure the safety of passengers.

As part of the enhanced protocols to allow the ship to sail, passengers – who are only permitted from Schengen countries – are required to fill out a mandatory questionnaire and go through temperature checks before boarding.

Passengers are also required to go through daily temperature checks while on board.

MSC Cruises said all of its cabins and public areas are supplied with 100 per cent external fresh air that’s “additionally sanitised through UV-C light technology” and that there is “no re-circulation of air between cabins or within the ship”.

Its medical centre is now equipped with Covid-19 testing equipment as well as ventilators, with dedicated isolation zones served by separate air supply created for suspected cases.

The UK government continues to advise against cruise travel. Similar advice has been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Several cruise lines have started cancelling sailings well into 2021 as a result of ongoing restrictions.

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