• Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More
You may also like
MSC Cruises Debuts New Blue Ribbon Health and Safety Task Force
Ship Exterior on MSC Seaside

MSC Cruises Debuts New Blue Ribbon Health and Safety Task Force

MSC Cruises Debuts New Blue Ribbon Health and Safety Task Force
Ship Exterior on MSC Seaside

July 06, 2020

Aaron Saunders
By Aaron Saunders
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
(2:15 p.m. EDT) -- MSC Cruises has launched a new health and safety task force mandated to develop new operating protocols to support the line's eventual return to service.
Dubbed the "Blue Ribbon COVID Expert Group", this new task force combines experts in the fields of medical services, public health and sanitation, hotel services, HVAC systems, and other shipboard engineering positions.
In addition, MSC has also secured the services of Aspen Medical, a global provider of healthcare solutions headquartered in Australia, to assist in the development of these new health and safety protocols.
The group of highly qualified and internationally respected experts will inform and review the line's COVID-19 initiatives "to help ensure that the actions taken are appropriate, effective, and informed by the best available science and health practices," said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises. 
Among the duties the group will do: policy initiatives, technical innovations and operational measures related to COVID-19
Rather than develop rules and disband, the group will remain in place after the line's return to operations "to ensure we benefit from their know-how and input even as the situation continues to evolve and more data become available," Vago said.
MSC notes its taskforce has worked to develop protocols for every aspect of the cruise experience, from the time of booking through to embarkation, the voyage itself, and the passenger's safe return home. The line's new health and safety operating protocols will be announced soon.
MSC indicated that these have been designed to exceed new guidelines issued by global regulatory bodies, including the World Health Organization and
the new guidelines developed
by the European Union's Healthy Gateways recommendations to the cruise industry.
The current focus is on working with authorities responsible for health, transport and the maritime sector in countries overlooking the Mediterranean, said Bud Darr, MSC Group's executive vice pesident for maritime policy and government affairs.
"This is in fact the region where, thanks to the improvement in the health situation ashore and return to travel by citizens, we currently expect a potential resumption of cruise operation following the now nearly completed and successful reopening of other travel and leisure activities across the region."
The line has also engaged the services of a maritime classification society to provide third-party verification that MSC's protocols and procedures meet established guidelines by the EU. Maritime classification societies have long certified vessels for seagoing and regulatory compliance, and a few societies -- including DNV GL and Bureau Veritas -- have already developed their own health, safety and hygiene certification processes.
Two additional cruise operators, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and Royal Caribbean Group
announced their own joint taskforce
on the same day, mandated to work on health and safety protocols that will be available to all cruise lines and other industries.
How was this article?
Popular with cruisers like you
Which Cruise Ships Will Be Scrapped Or Taken Out of Service Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic?

(Updated 1:28 p.m. EDT) -- Faced with declining revenues and a lack of passengers during the global COVID-10 pandemic, some cruise lines are taking an unpopular but necessary step: Selling off older vessels for scrap.

Most modern cruise ships have service lives of 40 years or more. While it is not uncommon to see cruise ships built in the 1970's and 1980's go to the breakers, older vessels are usually transferred first to another, smaller cruise operator -- a market that is often referred to as "secondhand tonnage."

It's more unusual is to see relatively young vessels head to the breakers. Yet that is precisely what is beginning to happen, due to the coronavirus pandemic.  On June 25,

Early Efforts To Resume Cruises Fall Prey to COVID-19, Lessons Learned

(2:15 p.m. EDT ) -- Last week was a discouraging one for cruisers, with COVID-19 cases popping up on the few small ship and international lines that have resumed service.

Norway, where cruising had re-emerged first from the pandemic, has put a two-week docking ban on ships with more than 100 people after Hurtigruten spawned an outbreak that is now past 50 infected passengers and crew. SeaDream I passengers were also forced to quarantine, after a passenger from a previous sailing tested positive for COVID-19.

Despite French Polynesia having some of the most rigorous COVID-19 testing requirements for entry, an American passenger turned up positive, forcing

Royal Caribbean Releases Q2 Earnings; New Cruise Ships Delayed 10 Months

(2 p.m. EDT) -- Royal Caribbean Group released its second-quarter earnings results on Monday, detailing a net loss of $1.6 billion and announcing that most newbuild projects will be delayed by approximately 10 months.

The Group, which counts Azamara, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Silversea among its portfolio of cruise line brands, also gave an update on its Spanish subsidiary Pullmantur and revealed that demand for bookings across the Group remains "within historic ranges" for 2021, particularly for the second quarter and beyond.

"We continue to take substantial actions to bolster our financial position," said Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean Group executive vice president and CFO. "We

MSC Given Green Light To Restart Cruises In the Mediterranean This Month

(12:15 p.m. EDT) -- MSC Cruises has been given the green light by Italian authorities to resume limited cruises in the Mediterranean this month aboard MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica.

MSC's flagship, MSC Grandiosa, will return to service on August 16, offering voyages to the Western Mediterranean from Genoa. The slightly-smaller MSC Magnifica enters service from Bari on August 29, where it will sail primarily to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Both vessels will initially offer cruises only for Schengen (European Union) residents and will travel throughout Italy, Greece and Malta. The Greek and Maltese governments have also reviewed and signed-off on MSC's restart plans, according to the co

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Has No Plans to Sell Its Ships

(1:05 p.m. EDT) -- Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) President and CEO Frank Del Rio announced it has no plans to sell any of its ships from its three cruise brands, as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"We absolutely have no plans to divest of any of our vessels," Del Rio said during NCLH's second quarter earnings call with investors and media Thursday morning.

The corporation, which counts Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas as its brands, reported an adjusted net loss of $666.4 million in its second quarter. Due to the complete suspension of sailings during the quarter, revenue decreased to just $16.9 million across all brands, compared with $1.7 bi

Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.