MSC Cruises is easing its protocols on departures from the U.S. that sail to the Caribbean and the Bahamas starting in September. It will become even easier for guests to cruise when it comes to testing and vaccination requirements.
Guests should note that the cruise line is adhering to different protocols for guests based in the United States and guests based outside of the country.
MSC Makes Caribbean and Bahamas Cruising Easier For U.S. Residents
Starting September 1, 2022, MSC Cruises will be making it much easier for everyone based in the United States to enjoy a cruise to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. The Switzerland-based cruise company will be updating its health and safety protocols, which include relaxed testing and vaccination measures.
For cruises to the Caribbean or the Bahamas from a U.S. homeport, MSC Cruises will no longer require guests to be fully vaccinated to be able to sail, if they are a resident of the country. The company now states that vaccinations are recommended but no longer required.
Besides the vaccination requirements being dropped, guests who have been fully vaccinated will no longer need to provide a negative test result before the start of the cruise. The same applies here as with vaccinations – testing is highly recommended but not required. Guests with fully vaccinated status will still need to show proof of their vaccinations upon boarding.
Guests who have not been fully vaccinated are now allowed to sail as long as they provide a negative test result. This can be either a NAAT test or an antigen test, taken within three days of embarkation. Children younger than two years old do not need to provide a negative test result.
The change in protocols follows several other major cruise lines which have made changes in recent weeks. Those changes follow the decision from the CDC to let go of the Voluntary Program for cruise ships earlier this year.
Requirements for Non-U.S. Residents Remain Unchanged
Guests who are not a U.S. resident but who sail from a U.S. homeport are not included in the new protocols effective September 1.
These guests must comply with the older regulations, which include a full vaccination requirement for all guests ages 12 and older. Regardless of the vaccination status, guests two years old and up should provide proof of a negative test, which can be either a NAAT or antigen test, taken within three days of embarkation.
MSC Cruises does recommend that all guests eligible for a booster shot get one before their cruise.
Three Ships Cruising From the United States
MSC Cruises currently has two cruise ships sailing from a US-based homeport and will add a third in the coming month.
MSC Divina sails from Port Canaveral, Florida, on a series of cruises to the Caribbean, ranging in length from seven to 11 days long. The ship focuses mainly on the Western Caribbean, with calls to Cozumel and Costa Maya, with a call to the cruise line’s private island in the Bahamas, Ocean Cay Marine Reserve, included in each voyage.
MSC Seashore is operating 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Port Miami. The 170,412 gross tons, 4,540-passenger Seaside EVO-class cruise ship sails to San Juan, St Thomas, Puerto Plata, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Cozumel, and more.
From October 7, MSC Meraviglia will begin operations from Port Canaveral, sailing on cruises ranging from five to seven days, which can be combined to cruises 14 days long. MSC Meraviglia, a 171,000 gross tons cruise ship with space for 4,500 guests, will sail to the Bahamas and the Western Caribbean.