Both MSC and Costa Cruises have announced plans to restart cruises from Italy this month. The move followed the Italian Government’s requested pause during the holiday season.
MSC will resume cruises with its vessel MSC Grandiosa (IMO 9803613) on January 10th, after a planned pause that began on December 20th. Currently, the MSC Grandiosa is scheduled to operate weekly cruises until March 14th from Genoa, with stops in Civitavecchia, Naples, Palermo, and Malta. Guests can board the ship in any of the Italian ports, but they are required to test negative for the virus before boarding the cruise. Each passenger will have a second test during the cruise.
MSC Cruises previously said that a second cruise ship, the MSC Magnifica (IMO 9387085), which was due to restart 10-night voyages in the West and East Mediterranean on December 18th would in fact commence its sailing programme on January 15th. Three sailings were cancelled. MSC has not provided an update on whether those cruises will run as planned.
Meanwhile Costa Cruises, which also suspended sailing on December 20th, has announced changes to its cruise programme. Carnival Corporation’s Italian brand had resumed sailing in September with its cruise ship the Costa Deliziosa (IMO 9398917) sailing from Trieste and then the Costa Diadema (IMO 9636888) sailing from Genoa. They later started operating their larger flagship the Costa Smeralda (IMO 9781889) from Savona, before suspending the cruises to Greece aboard the Costa Deliziosa.
Costa Smeralda, with a maximum capacity of 6,600 passengers, was due to resume sailing on January 7th, However, citing uncertainty regarding Covid-19 restrictions in the coming weeks, Costa has now cancelled the cruises until January 31st.
The cruise line now plans to offer the previously offered cruises aboard its smaller cruise ship the Costa Deliziosa, which has a capacity of 2,862 passengers. Announcing the revised programme, Costa Cruises said that “the decision to operate the Costa Deliziosa will allow greater itinerary flexibility to respond to any changes in the local Covid-19 scenario”.
The only other cruises in Europe currently are those operated by AIDA and TUI aboard large cruise ships sailing in the Canary Islands.
The lines that sell mainly to Americans have announced more delays to the resumption of their programs. Norwegian Cruise Line has cancelled the planned March cruises aboard three of its ships from Miami and Port Canaveral. Now Carnival Cruise Line has cancelled all cruises until the end of March. For Galveston the delay extends through April.
Holland America Line and Princess Cruises have also extended their cancellations. Holland America has cancelled all cruises through until April, delaying some in Alaska until May and June.
Princess Cruises has extended its cancellations until the middle of May.
However, there was some cause for optimism, with several of the cruise ships returning to US ports for the first time since last summer.
2019-built, Malta-flagged, 181,541 gt MSC Grandiosa is owned by Vista 3 Compania Naviera AS care of MSC Crociere SpA of Naples, Italy. It is entered with Steamship Mutual.
2010-built, Panama-flagged, 95,128 gt MSC Magnifica is owned by S32 Leasing Co Ltd care of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co SA of Geneva, Switzerland. ISM manager is MSC Cruise Management UK Ltd of Uxbridge, UK.
2010-built, Italy-flagged, 92,720 gt Costa Deliziosa is owned and managed by Costa Crociere SpA of Genoa, Italy. ISM manager is Carnival Maritime GmbH of Hamburg, Germany.
2014-built, Italy-flagged, 133,019 gt Costa Diadema has a similar ownership structure to the Costa Deliziosa.
2019-built, Italy-flagged, 185,010 gt Costa Smeralda has a similar ownership structure to the above two vessels.