MSC Cruises is putting its toes in the water by offering two post-lockdown Mediterranean cruises with the first sailing from Genoa last night and the second due to set sail on the 29th August. It’s a test for the whole cruising holiday industry since the Covid-19 pandemic forced them to stop sailing that’s believed to have cost the European cruise market over €25 billion in lost revenue.
We all probably watched the news on television or social media as the stories of the spread of the virus on cruise ships unfolded before our eyes. And so it’s a test of the ability of the public to adapt to the ‘new normal’ post-lockdown rules of cruising holidays.
So how might things change?
Before being allowed to embark on board the MCS Grandiosa, the cruise ship that set sail last night, it was reported that passengers had to queue for health tests. But that’s what most of them will have expected as around the world everyone has got used to the basic rule of queuing two meters apart to get into food stores and supermarkets. And most will have been reassured that they and their fellow passengers are being tested. So nothing unexpected or new there.
It’s once on board that things will appear to be different as the cruise ships are being operated at less than three-quarters of its normal capacity to ensure social distancing rules can be complied with. However ensuring people keep socially distanced has meant the world famous self-service open all hours buffets have not returned as food will be served at the tables with everyone seated.
Perhaps surprisingly it has been reported that passengers will probably still be allowed to go ashore. But they will only be permitted to disembark to go on organised tours offered by the cruise ship.
No one knows if Everything might change again if Europe experiences a second wave. We will all have to wait and see…