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MSC Cruises sets US restart plans after CDC OKs July 17 test sailing

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MSC Meraviglia will conduct its test cruise July 17 from PortMiami before beginning revenue sailings on Aug. 2
MSC Cruises plans to begin service from the US in August with two ships following its green light to conduct a simulated sailing from PortMiami on July 17.

MSC Meraviglia will conduct the test cruise prior to its first planned revenue voyage on Aug. 2. 

MSC's news follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's acceptance of the company's Phase 2A port agreements under the conditional sailing order.

'We are excited to be officially announcing our restart this summer from the US, and Florida in particular, as excitement is building for vacationers to get back to traveling and plan a much-deserved getaway,' MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said.

MSC Meraviglia to begin with short Bahamas getaways

New sailings on MSC Meraviglia and MSC Divina open for booking on June 16.

MSC Meraviglia will kick off the US restart Aug. 2 with three- and four-night cruises from Miami to the Bahamas, featuring Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.

Then weeklong cruises

Then, starting Sept. 18, the ship will add seven-night cruises from Miami to the Bahamas and Caribbean, including Ocean Cay.

MSC Divina from Port Canaveral

MSC Divina will resume from Port Canaveral Sept. 16, offering three-, four- and seven-night cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean, also including Ocean Cay.

Rubén Rodríguez, president of MSC Cruises USA, noted his company has 'vast experience cruising in Europe since August 2020.'

No vaccination mandate for passengers

The line has pledged all crew will be vaccinated for COVID-19, and Rodríguez thanked the state of Florida and local government and port officials for their help with that. There won't be a vaccination mandate for passengers, though Rodríguez said: 'We expect that the majority of our guests booking a cruise this summer will plan to be vaccinated prior to sail ... And we encourage our guests to take advantage of this added layer of protection when resuming travel this summer.'

Additional itinerary details about MSC Meraviglia and MSC Divina itineraries will be shared in the coming week, as well as health and safety measures and guidelines.

Travelers who are not vaccinated or unable to verify vaccination will be subject to additional testing and restrictions to be announced at a later date.

Cancellations

MSC Cruises also canceled existing US-based sailings, affecting its three Florida-based ships. Those include MSC Divina's Port Canaveral cruises from July 1 through Sept. 15, and, from PortMiami, MSC Meraviglia and MSC Armonia's cruises from July 1 through Sept. 17.

Impacted travelers may rebook on one of the first newly announced MSC Meraviglia and MSC Divina cruises opening for sale June 16 or on the brand-new MSC Seashore, scheduled to arrive in Miami this November. Travelers who have paid in full will be offered a 100% future cruise credit and up to $200 on-board credit, depending on the original cruise length. The FCC and on-board credit may be applied to any ship on any future cruise that is open for sale.

Or, they may request a full refund.

Onorato thanked Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, PortMiami and Port Canaveral officials and the CDC for their support.

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