MSC Cruises extends sailing suspension amid coronavirus pandemic, cancels several 2021 sailings

MSC Cruises extends sailing suspension amid coronavirus pandemic, cancels several 2021 sailings

MSC Cruises is adjusting its future plans amid the coronavirus pandemic — including the extension of its fleet-wide halt of cruise operations and some cancellations into 2021..

MSC is suspending operations through July 31, according to a company press release, one week after the CDC's no-sail order is set to expire. MSC Cruises USA guests will receive a 125% future cruise credit of their original fare paid by June 19 for use on a sailing by Dec. 31, 2021. This applies to guests who were set to sail July 11 to July 31 but had their cruises canceled.

For guests with bookings between Aug. 1 through Oct. 31, they are now eligible for the company's cruise assurance program, which lets passengers cancel trips up to 48 hours in advance of departure and reschedule with a 100% future cruise credit (also for use on a sailing by Dec. 31, 2021). The program lets passengers change bookings whether they went through the company directly or through a travel adviser.

The company has canceled several sailings for next year:

MSC Armonia itineraries from Tampa, Florida (May 2, 2021, to Oct. 31, 2021)MSC Divina itineraries from Miami (March 28, 2021, to Aug. 22, 2021)MSC Divina itineraries from New York (Sept. 3, 2021, to Oct. 23, 2021)

Passengers affected by the summer 2021 itinerary changes can redirect funds to any other ship and receive a $50 shipboard credit per person. Passengers need to make anew booking within the next 60 days, or they can submit a refund request to the company or their travel adviser.

MSC will debut two new ships currently under construction, the MSC Virtuosa and MSC Seashore, bringing the company's fleet to 19 ships.

"Our ships will return to service only when the time is right, in phases and by region, and following guidance from the relevant national and international health and other regulatory authorities and the support of a new operating protocol especially focused on health and safety, which we will announce soon," Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises, said in a statement. "This way, gradually, all of our ships will return to sea between then and the beginning of our summer 2021 season."

What Royal Caribbean, Princess and P&O cruise lines are doing

British cruise line P&O Cruises, a Carnival subsidiary, is canceling all its sailings until Oct. 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic – after a move by Canada to ban cruises and ferries carrying more than 100 people with overnight capacity in its waters through Oct. 31.

While Canada's ban on cruises has been pushed into the fall, the CDC's no-sail order is set to lift after July 24, and major cruise companies, including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Disney, have extended their sailing suspensions just past that date.

Royal Caribbean also announced it would cancel sailings to Alaska, Canada and New England through October. Princess Cruises also is extending its cancellation of some sailings through October.

Contributing: Morgan Hines

Wow:Tech cruise ships could implement to combat spread of coronavirus: far-UVC sanitation, contact tracing

Excellent (and relevant) questions:What is a future cruise credit and how can you use it if you missed a cruise due to coronavirus?

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2020/06/05/coronavirus-msc-cruises-extends-suspension-cancels-2021-sailings/3153340001/

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