MSC Cruises says ‘a number of guests’ booked on MSC Virtuosa’s British sailings between June 21 and July 19 ‘may need to be assisted to rebook’ to later cruises because the government extended Covid restrictions limiting cruises to 1,000 passengers.
The first 1,000 guests who booked each sailing will not be affected. MSC Cruises will contact other guests starting with the June 23 and 26 sailings and offer a later cruise or refund. More details will be available shortly on msccruises.co.uk and through travel agent partners.
The move comes after MSC Cruises was also prevented from docking in Scotland when the Holyrood government banned large cruise ships.
Here is the full MSC Cruises statement:
MSC Cruises is disappointed that it has been necessary for the Government to delay the planned easing of Covid restrictions in England and maintain the current capacity restrictions on certain indoor venues, which limit our cruise ship to operating with a maximum of 1,000 guests onboard at any given time. This comes following the position announced last week by the Scottish Government that cruise calls in Scotland are only recommended to begin once all areas are designated as Level 1 of its Covid restrictions.
Like all of the UK, the company had fully expected that most restrictions would be removed from June 21 onwards and so was ready to host more than 1,000 guests on its flagship, MSC Virtuosa, under the safety of its industry-leading health and safety protocol, which includes repeated universal testing at embarkation and during cruises.
However, as this capacity restriction is expected to continue to apply until July 19, MSC Cruises regrets that a number of UK guests who have booked a cruise departing after June 21 but before July 19 may need to be assisted to rebook on a sailing departing after the restriction is removed. Whilst still seeking further clarifications from the relevant authorities and continuing to monitor for developments, the company will initially begin by contacting those affected guests due to embark between June 23 and 26.
MSC Cruises has adopted a fair criterion based on the earlier date of booking so that the first 1,000 guests will maintain their bookings, and it can be assured that guests booked on sailings prior to June 21 are unaffected entirely. In addition to a variety of rebooking options, guests will be offered the option of a refund. More details will be available shortly on msccruises.co.uk and through the MSC Cruises’ contact centre or its travel agent partners.
MSC Cruises looks forward to the eventual easing of Covid restrictions in the UK so cruising can play a bigger role in the vital restart of British tourism and its contribution to the economy, and it can offer more UK residents that safe and richly deserved holiday option this summer.