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MSC Cruises next to homeport Bahamas? Line says not so fast

CRUISE_Ocean_Cay_MSC_Marine_Reserve.jpg
MSC Cruises has a major investment at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in the Bahamas
Responding to a report that MSC Cruises may become the third line to homeport in the Bahamas this year, MSC didn't rule it out but said its priority is a US restart.

Bahamas Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar told Nassau's Eyewitness News MSC is 'sort of finishing their due diligence and will probably be in position to say whether it’s a go or no-go very shortly.

'We have Crystal Cruises and Royal Caribbean already and right now MSC is seriously considering doing it if they haven’t already made the decision.'

For weeks there has been speculation about an MSC move to Nassau. The Bahamas figure heavily in its program, and the line has a major investment in the Bahamas in its Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.

But late Friday MSC told Seatrade Cruise News its priority in the region remains a restart from US ports.

Hoping for a US green light soon

'Our industry-leading health and safety protocol, developed with leading medical experts and approved by various international authorities, has allowed us to sail safely and responsibly in Europe since August 2020. Since then, we’ve carried over 60,000 guests on board our ships, and our success has demonstrated that we are ready to restart safe and enjoyable cruising from US ports,' a spokesperson said in a written response.

'As a global brand, we are always expanding our reach to offer our guests the opportunity to enjoy an enriching cruise experience from incredible new destinations, and today is no different. We are constantly monitoring the situation ashore as it evolves to restart operations around the world as it is safe to do so.

'In this region, our priority remains a restart out of US ports, and we are actively engaged with the CDC and relevant authorities to determine the best way forward. We are hopeful that the decision to allow the resumption of cruising from the US will happen very soon, and it would be premature to speculate on any homeport decisions.'

MSC has ships scheduled to sail from Port Canaveral and PortMiami, pending US approval.

Vaccination?

In the same Eyewitness News story, D’Aguilar deemed cruises from the Bahamas 'low risk' because of vaccination mandates. Crystal requires COVID-19 vaccination for all passengers and aims for full crew vaccination, while Royal Caribbean International is currently exempting passengers under 18 though requiring them to present a negative COVID test. Royal crew will be vaccinated.

So far, MSC Cruises has not imposed a vaccination mandate anywhere it operates.

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