230 Mauritian crew, called to resume service onboard MSC Cruises ships at Port Genoa (Milan) Italy, left Mauritius on a charter flight on July 29. They boarded an Alitalia plane that repatriated 153 cruise ship crew back to Mauritius the same day. Most of the newcomers will work on the liner MSC Grandiosa.
In Genoa, alongside MSC Fantasia, the Grandiosa ship arrived at the Maritime Station on July 28. However, the final approval is expected by the government of Italy which will be called upon to decide whether or not to grant the green light to cruises with national ports amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to MSC Cruises managing director in Italy, Leonardo Massa, the company was ready to resume cruises, and they were only waiting for the authorization of the government. He added they had "worked a lot in recent months in developing a protocol to guarantee the health of cruise passengers and crew, a protocol already approved by the Scientific and Technical Committee which implements the European regulations of the EU Healthy Gateways".
Massa added that staffing a cruise ship was "a long and expensive operation, it means calling thousands of people back. On average it takes a month, a month and a half to get crews (1,000-1,200 seafarers from all over the world), supplies, etc. Specifically, over a thousand Italian seafarers are involved in this operation and have the opportunity to return to work. We only need the go-ahead from the government which we hope will arrive with the Council of Ministers on 31 July."