Durban - The MSC Orchestra cruise-liner left the Durban Port on Monday filled with passengers enroute to the islands of Mozambique despite the country prohibiting gatherings of 100 people or more under the national state of disaster, declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night.
MSC Cruises which is currently operating cruises out of South Africa despite scaling down operations in other part of the world including the USA said that operations would continue as the the ports of Durban and Cape Town are open to cruise passengers and crew.
The company however said that they were seeking clarification on gatherings of 100 people or more being prohibited.
"However, we know that cinemas, shopping malls and airports are still open. This has been confirmed by the Ministry of Health," MSC said in a statement.
"As a result of the above clarifications the cruise season is continuing as planned. We appreciate the severity of the situation and the request of the President to limit travel. In light of this, passengers have the option to move their current 2019/2020 cruise within 48 (forty-eight) hours of the initial cruise departure. Passengers who do not wish to travel will be provided with a voucher to the value of their current cruise for use in the upcoming local cruise season in 2020/2021. Guests will also receive an additional $50 on board credit per cabin to be used on a cruise in the next season".
MSC said it had taken extensive measures since early February to ensure the safety of all guests and crew.
The travel bans for guests from high risk countries has been updated.
According to MSC, guests and crew from all nationalities are required to fill out a pre-embarkation questionnaire.
Any guest that has travelled to, from or through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Europe, South Korea, United States, UK, Canada and Iran, or visited or transiteded via these airports, will be denied access to the ship.
The same rules will apply to the guests travel companions (including a parent, spouse, child, sibling, or any companion who will share a cabin).
Mandatory non-touch thermal scans will be conducted for all guests and crew prior to embarkation for every cruise operated by MSC Cruises globally. Passengers with signs or symptoms of the illness such as fever (≥38 C°)or feverishness, chills, cough or a difficulty with breathing will be denied embarkation. The same rules apply to their travel companions, as above.
Any guest who, within 14 (fourteen) days before embarkation, has had close contact with or helped care for anyone suspected or diagnosed as having coronavirus, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to coronavirus, will be denied boarding.
Elevated deep-sanitation will be carried out on every ship in the line’s entire global fleet.
If guests develop fever symptoms once on board, they will be isolated in their cabin and the same measure applies for their travel companions and close contacts on-board, including guests staying in the same cabin and family members, as well as any crew member who may have had contact with these guests.
Any guest on board is able to have their temperature checked at the Medical Centre should they have any concerns in this regard.
Please be advised that the above actions are being carried out purely as a preventative measure.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, MSC Cruises has been closely monitoring the public health and safety situation in each of the regions in which its ships sail. We have been continuously consulting with both international and local health authorities in order implement the necessary recommendations and measures.
The safety of our passengers is of paramount importance. MSC Cruises undertakes to keep you informed of any further developments from relevant authorities and the port of Durban and if any changes are made to your cruise, this will be communicated with you.
People who want to move their cruise are advised to contact the MSC Customer Care department at [email protected]