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News: MSC Bellissima to sail Red Sea cruises this summer

News: MSC Bellissima to sail Red Sea cruises this summer

MSC Cruises has confirmed MSC Bellissima will sail 21 Red Sea voyages from Jeddah, the commercial hub of Saudi Arabia, between the end of July and late October.

The Meraviglia-class vessel, which first came to service in 2019, will offer three- and four-night cruises to Safaga for Luxor, Egypt or Aqaba for Petra, Jordan before returning to her Saudi homeport. 

MSC Bellissima will be the largest cruise ship ever to sail the waters of the Red Sea.

The summer sailings will add to MSC Cruises’ previously announced winter 2021/22 Red Sea voyages from Jeddah starting in November.

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman, MSC Cruises, said: “As the tourism industry of Saudi Arabia grows progressively for its own residents and international visitors, we at MSC Cruises are looking forward to make a positive and lasting contribution as more people explore and discover the rich heritage and incredible cultural attractions it has to offer.

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“With our cruises this summer from Jeddah of MSC Bellissima and a ship dedicated for the winter season in the Red Sea we are committed to serve holidaymakers with the very best cruise experiences. 

“This, we believe, will accelerate the attractiveness of holidays at sea in the region and significantly help in the growth of tourism.”

MSC Cruises sets sail tonight as UK's first ship to return to the ocean

MSC Cruises sets sail tonight as UK's first ship to return to the ocean
Queues of excited passengers could be seen this evening as they were welcomed back onboard the MSC Virtuosa. The MSC Cruise ship is the first in the UK to restart sailing, departing on its maiden voyages out of Southampton around the British Isles.
It is the first time in 14 months the ship has welcomed back UK passengers.

Around 1,000 guests will depart on the inaugural journey, which is set to stop at the picturesque isle of Portland, as well as boasting astonishing ocean views and plenty of onboard frivolities to be had.

Ahead of its departure, members of the public gathered around the waters of Southampton to see off the 181,541 gross ton, 1,085ft-long ship sail away.

Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, said, “Dedicating our brand-new ship MSC Virtuosa for UK cruises this summer bears testament to our absolute commitment to the local market and truly shines a light on its ever-growing importance to us.”

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He continued: “We are, of course, also incredibly proud that MSC Virtuosa’s first-ever sailing heralds the resumption of cruise holidays from British ports and we would like to thank the UK Government and other local authorities for their support to us and the overall cruise industry to allow domestic cruising to restart.”

Both vaccinated and non-vaccinated guests are welcome onboard, thanks to rigorous testing procedures at embarkation.

This is just one of the cruise lines health and safety protocol developed by a Blue Ribbon Panel of experts.

It was this health and safety expertise that helped MSC Cruises resume sailings in the Mediterranean onboard MSC Grandiosa in August 2020.

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“Our shipping prowess led the way last August with our initial restart in the Mediterranean thanks to a new health and safety protocol designed to protect our guests and crew, as well as the destinations that our ships visit, that effectively set a new standard for our industry,” said Mr Onorato.

“The sailing today from Southampton is a great step forward for both MSC Cruises and the British cruise sector.”

MSC Virtuosa is the cruise line’s newest ship and boasts an array of high-tech amenities including the MSC Starship Club – a unique cocktail bar with its own robotic bartender.

Rob, as the cyborg is known, shakes up a choice of beverage for guests at their request.

Following the maiden voyage, MSC Virtuosa will return to Southampton on May 24 ready for guests to disembark and 1,000 more holidaymakers to board.

As well as the series of three- and four-night mini cruises, MSC Virtuosa will offer seven-night cruises from June 5.

The week-long sailings include calls at Portland and Belfast in Northern Ireland, as well as offering multiple ports of embarkation including Liverpool and Greenock, close to Glasgow, Scotland, on top of Southampton.

Antonio Paradiso, managing director of MSC Cruises UK & Ireland said: “Today is a very special day as we welcome guests back on board for a much-deserved holiday and the maiden voyage of MSC Virtuosa.

“Embarking 1,000 returning as well as new guests directly in Southampton allows them to explore the best the British Isles has to offer in a safe and convenient way.

“Our new flagship offers a whole host of brand new facilities, plus everything they have come to expect from a cruise with us, we are sure this will be a summer holiday to remember.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Cruise lines setting sail in UK waters this summer – more holidays announced

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Cruise lines setting sail in UK waters this summer - more holidays announced

Most cruise lines have spent more than a year docked amid ongoing travel restrictions. However, with lockdown gradually being relaxed in the UK, many big-name cruise firms have turned their attention to Ocean-based staycations around the British Isles.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has recently revealed new protocols for its previously announced UK sailings.

The cruise line will resume sailing with a series of cruises from Tilbury in Essex, Liverpool, Southampton and Newcastle, between July and September.

The cruises will span two, three and four-night trips around the UK.

In its latest update, Disney confirmed all adults over the age of 18 must have been fully vaccinated before travelling.

In a message on its website the cruise line states: “In order to sail, guests 18 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, as defined by the National Health Service (NHS).

“The NHS currently defines ‘fully vaccinated’ as seven days after the final dose. Disney Cruise Line will contact guests prior to sailing with instructions on how to show proof of this vaccination status.”

Other measures expected to be in place include a negative COVID-19 test ahead of boarding, rapid antigen testing, health screenings and the use of face coverings.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises is due to set sail from Southampton on a series of six to eight-night itineraries around the UK coastline.

The cruises will begin departing from July.

All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated before boarding.

Those under 18 will be required to provide a negative PCR test result.

In a statement on its website, Celebrity Cruises explained: “We’ve partnered with medical and scientific advisors from our Healthy Sail Panel, our Global Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer; and local health and government authorities to guide us in the development of our protocols.

“These measures include reduced capacities, enhanced cleaning and sanitisation and physical distancing.

“Celebrity Cruises will be one of the first to offer fully vaccinated sailings, where guests age 18 and over will be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“And we’re working with local health authorities in our homeport counties to ensure guests meet current inbound travel requirements.”

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Saga Cruises

Saga Cruises was one of the first lines to announce UK sailings with guests having to be fully vaccinated.

Cruises will span June until September.

Departing from Tilbury, Spirit of Adventure will call at Newcastle, the Isle of Man, Edinburgh, Kirkwall, Belfast and Bristol.

Spirit of Discovery sail throughout July and August, including a 14-night Great British Isles Adventure spanning Falmouth, Holyhead, Greenock, Ullapool and more.

MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises is due to depart on a series of three and four-night sailings departing from Southampton and calling at Portland.

The ship will then offer longer see-day itineraries between June and September.

The week-long trips will span Portland, Belfast, Liverpool and Greenock.

MSC is also offering onshore excursions.

So far the cruise line has not issued a requirement for passengers to be vaccinated.

However, they will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test upon boarding.

On its website, MSC Cruises explains: “For MSC Virtuosa’ sailings around the British Isles in the upcoming months, we will welcome only UK residents of all ages, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.

“All unvaccinated or partially vaccinated guests (i.e did not receive the full set of vaccine shots) will need to take a lateral flow (antigen) or PCR (molecular) swab test within 72 hours prior to the ship’s departure.

“Proof of a negative test result will be requested at the terminal and we will accept evidence such as an email, SMS or a printed document.

“The test is not required for fully vaccinated (any proof of vaccination needed) or under two years old guests.

“However, as per our stringent MSC Health and Safety protocol, all guests both vaccinated and unvaccinated will need to undergo some Health and COVID 19 screenings including a COVID-19 swab test, a health questionnaire and a contactless temperature check, before boarding the ship.”

Cunard Cruises

Cunard Cruises is running a series of three to 12-night coastal voyages.

The journeys will operate between July and October and will span the Jurassic Coast, Land’s End, the Isle of Arran, Mull of Kintyre and Sound of Mull.

Along the way, on some ships, there will be port stops including Liverpool, Greenock, Invergordon, Belfast, Newcastle and Holyhead.

There will also be three cruises that will chase the sun, and sail to wherever the weather is brightest at that time.

“With the UK Government confirming that domestic travel is close on the horizon, we are introducing a series of exciting, shorter duration holidays for British residents looking for the perfect staycation in Cunard luxury this summer,” said Simon Palethorpe, president of Cunard.

“These will be sailings from Southampton, for UK residents, around the UK and will make the very most of the summer sunshine.”

All guests and crew are required to be fully vaccinated before boarding.

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages is due to depart from the UK on a series of domestic sailings for Britons.

The ships will sail from Portsmouth and all Uk residents will be welcomed onboard the staycation-at-sea cruises.

Journeys will span two, three and four-night itineraries onboard Scarlet Lady.

The cruise line states all “sailors” must be vaccinated against Covid.

“After more than a year of waiting and a major emphasis on a safe return, we’re ecstatic to announce these new sailings and bring Sailors onboard to experience what it’s like to set sail the Virgin Way,” said Tom McAlpin, CEO and President of Virgin Voyages.

“We look at our UK summer voyages as a homecoming to pay homage to our British roots, and what an excellent way to kick-off our sailing season before heading back to PortMiami.”

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises has launched an array of UK itineraries for the summer.

Britannia will offer three and four-night breaks and one six-night holiday running from June 27, 2021, through to September 19, 2021.

Iona offers seven-night itineraries running from August 7, 2021, to September 18, 2021. Prices start from £449 per person for a three-night break on Britannia. Iona’s seven-night maiden voyage starts from £1,199 per person.

Britons hoping to travel will need to be able to prove they have received their COVID-19 vaccination. Travel insurance will also be mandatory.

“At the moment we are stipulating that all guests of all ages must be vaccinated to come onboard,” clarified P&O President Paul Ludlow.

Fred. Olsen

Fred. Olsen has announced plans for 11 domestic cruises in July and August.

The sailings, onboard Borealis and Bolette, will sail from Dover and Liverpool.

Trips range from a four-night non-stop cruise around Scotland to a five-night Touring Scenic British Isles trip which will dock in Belfast and Falmouth.

Other itineraries include the Shetlands, Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly.

The cruise line has not yet decided whether or not all passengers will need to be vaccinated, and is currently “investigating ways to vaccinate crew”.

“By the time we resume sailing in July, we know that a large proportion of UK adults will have received their vaccinations,” Fred. Olsen’s website states.

“The vaccine is a big advancement for the travel industry, but it must be considered as part of a multi-layered approach.

“We are in the process of developing our Safe Sailing Charter to include a number of measures, which also includes testing, social distancing and the wearing of face masks.”

Marella Cruises

Marella Cruises has confirmed it will launch UK sailings this summer.

Marella Explorer will depart from Southampton in June.

It will sail via three ports of call including Belfast, Dublin and Liverpool.

Marella Explorer 2 will offer departures from Newcastle in July.

All adults aged 18 and over will be required to have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with their last vaccine taken at least seven days before departure.

Under-18s will be asked to have a lateral flow test. Infants under the age of two will not be able to sail as they are exempt from testing.

All guests must also provide a negative lateral flow test before boarding.

Chris Hackney, managing director of Cruise TUI UK and Ireland, said: “After pausing our operations for more than year, we are delighted to announce our UK summer programme and welcome our wonderful customers back onboard our ships.

“The safety and well-being of both our crew and passengers remains our priority, which is why we have vaccination and testing protocols for all sailings from UK ports this summer.”

Viking cruises

Viking Cruises has launched an array of UK itineraries departing from Portsmouth.

Cruises will sail five eight-day “England’s Scenic Shores” journeys.

The cruises will sail throughout May and June, spanning Liverpool., the Isle of Scilly, Falmouth, and Portland.

Passengers will be required to undergo a health check at embarkation and take a PCR test.

CDC rejects cruise company request to sail in July

CDC rejects cruise company request to sail in July

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shot down calls from the cruise industry to allow business to restart in July, saying it would stick to its original plan of letting cruises resume in November.

USA Today reported[1] that the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) asked the CDC to lift its “framework for conditional sailing order” in order to allow cruise ship sailing to resume in July.

“The outdated CSO [framework for conditional sailing order], which was issued almost five months ago, does not reflect the industry’s proven advancements and success operating in other parts of the world, nor the advent of vaccines, and unfairly treats cruises differently,” Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of CLIA, said.

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CLIA pointed out that the CDC has not issued further guidance since its last order in October, despite saying it would do so. The cruise organization argued that the cruise industry was experiencing unfair treatment, claiming it is the only sector of the U.S. economy that is still shut down.

CDC spokeswoman Caitlin Shockey said the current order would remain in place until Nov. 1 and that the agency is working on what the next phases should look like.

“Returning to passenger cruising is a phased approach to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19,” Shockey said. “Details for the next phase of the CSO are currently under interagency review.”

Companies have announced the resumption of cruises in other parts of the world. Royal Caribbean in early March announced it would hold a “fully vaccinated” cruise[2]. The cruise line’s newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas, is set to launch from Haifa, Israel, for the first time in May.

Several cruise ships became coronavirus hot spots early in the pandemic, as the virus spread quickly in the contained spaces. Some were forced to remain docked in quarantine, and in one high-profile case, the U.S. Coast Guard initially didn’t allow the [3]Coral Princess to dock[4] after it reported dozens of cases on board.

The close quarters in cruise ships increase the risk of spreading infectious diseases, and Martin Cetron, the director of the division of global migration and quarantine for the CDC, told USA Today that the risk of spreading disease continues when passengers disembark.

“It’s quite clear this is a formula for accelerated introduction, transmission and then accelerated spread,” Cetron said.

References

  1. ^ USA Today reported (www.usatoday.com)
  2. ^ “fully vaccinated” cruise (thehill.com)
  3. ^ didn’t allow the  (thehill.com)
  4. ^ Coral Princess to dock (thehill.com)

[email protected] (Joseph Choi)