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MSC Cruises Tells Passengers No Shore Visits Without a Chaperone



This one is straight out of the seventh-grade Sadie Hawkins Day Dance.

MSC Cruises, which is set to resume sailing again in the Mediterranean on August 16, is telling passengers that if they plan to visit shore at ports of call, they better plan on a third wheel coming along.

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MSC says it will only allow passengers to leave the boat if they are accompanied by a chaperone from the ship. The chaperone will act as a monitor of sorts, ensuring that travelers are following proper health protocols such as face masks and social distancing to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

It is one of the most unique and certainly most restrictive – and, uh, potentially uncomfortable – guidelines set for tourists since the pandemic began six months ago.

“Guests will be able to enjoy the different destinations the ships visit, but this will be only as part of an organized MSC Cruises excursion that will be delivered with the same high standards of health and safety as on board,” the company said in a press release. “By taking this decision the Company is able to ensure that every aspect of the guest’s time ashore meets the appropriate standards of health and hygiene from ensuring that transfers are properly sanitized, that tour guides and drivers are wearing PPE, venues and sites to be visited are pre-screened through to ensuring there are reserved areas for MSC Cruises guests at attractions.”

Clearly, given the disastrous episodes of the virus spreading throughout ships earlier this spring, it is a case of better safe than story. MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato said on a conference call that company executives were thinking exactly that.

“We will make sure (they) are going only to certain places, and they are respecting the social distancing (and) the wearing of masks all the time in order to reduce the risk of getting the virus while in the ports,” Onorato said.

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