This was not my first cruise with MSC,in fact it was about my 7th or 8th mostly transatlantic from Santos, Brazil to Europe apart from one to the Caribbean. Prior to this I had done a mini cruises with Fred Olsen. To be honest,after my first cruise with MSC in 2013 I was quite impressed and wanted to go again,which I did more or less ever year following. In 2014 cruising again from Brazil to Europe I met my a Brazilian lady from Sao Paulo; we exchanged emails and stayed in touch corresponding for a whole year . Thereafter, I would go to stay in Brazil for a month or two in January and February before we took the cruise ship from Santos in early March to Europe by way of a holiday for my partner,and a means of getting me back home to Britain as opposed to flying.
Fast forward now to March of this year, with the Corona virus outbreak in Europe ,we were told by our agent that all passengers would be tested before for the virus before being allowed on the ship. I wondered how this would be possible with over 3000 passengers due to embark! There were 4 in our party and we were not checked and apart from going through security, we went aboard. As far as I know from talking to other passengers onboard ship,no one else was checked either. So, we duly set sail and our first port of call was Buzios, a place I had visited on two previous occasions. Two days later we were due to arrive at our last brazilian port of Maciea before crossing the Atlantic .
It was before we reached the last brazilian port that the captain had made an announcement that one evening in the theatre that we would be denied access to all of the European ports on our itinerary due to the continuing spread of the corona virus. This is when the nightmare began, and panic ensued resulting in approximately 1500 brazilian nationals opting to leave the ship in Maciea. Those of us remaing, approx. 1500 were told by the captain that there was no corona virus onboard ship and we should settle down to enjoy the rest of the cruise. At this point we had no certainty where we would eventually disembark. We had flights al ready booked from Barcelona, back to Brazil and UK respectively.