MSC Cruises’ flagship MSC Virtuosa becomes the first ocean liner to sail in British waters

   May 21, 2021 ,   Cruise Industry

Cruising from the UK resumed on Thursday, May 20, following a 14-month halt when MSC Virtuosa departed from Southampton England for a 4-night roundtrip that marked the start of her maiden season.

MSC Cruises’ flagship became the first ocean liner to sail in British waters since the cruise industry came to a voluntary suspension in March 2020 as a result of the global pandemic ashore.

MSC Cruises was the first major cruise company to resume sailing in international waters in August last year when Grandiosa commenced weekly sailings in the Mediterranean following approval by European authorities for an advanced health & safety protocol that set a new standard for the cruise industry.

The UK cruises aboard MSC Virtuosa add to the current sailings of MSC Grandiosa and MSC Seaside in the Mediterranean. The cruise line is finalizing preparations to restart 5 more ships across Northern Europe, the East and West Mediterranean in the coming weeks after the go-ahead from relevant authorities. MSC Cruises is also awaiting for the U.S. authorities to allow for Caribbean voyages to restart, as well as other markets it has served.

The 181,000 GT MSC Virtuosa will sail during the summer with British residents only as well as with passengers of all ages who are either waiting for a vaccine or have already been vaccinated. All travelers are tested before embarkation. Non-vaccinated passengers are required to show proof of a negative test conducted up to 72 hours before embarkation.

MSC Virtuosa cruise ship

Other pre-boarding / onboard protective measures also apply to both passengers and crew members, in line with MSC Cruises’ health & safety protocol. The leading protocol was created in 2020 with input from international health experts, of which MSC’s ‘COVID-19 Blue-Ribbon Expert Group’. It is in close cooperation with national and regional transport, health, and safety authorities throughout Europe.