The first cruise liner to return to the Mediterranean following the global shut down of the multi billion-dollar cruise industry in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic was MSC Grandiosa of MSC Cruises. It was operating at about 60% of its 6,300 passenger capacity. The entire seven day trip which began on August 16 was characterized by Covid testing, social distancing, hand sanitizing and temperature checks, the use of UV-C light technology, and in fact was until the end virus free. All excursions in some cities were pre-planned and tightly controlled.
After the first success, MSC Grandiosa departed on August 23 for a second cruise, stopping off at the Greek ports of Corfu, Katakolon and Piraeus. “I think cruises could be the safest holiday, right now,” the owner of travel company Vivere & Viaggiare Roma Pittaluga, Valeria Belardi, declared. However, major operators, including Princess Cruises, have canceled sailings in regions outside the United States, including Asia, the Caribbean, South America and Antarctica, until mid-December. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extended a no-sail order effectively banning cruising around American waters until at least September 2020. In the past decade, cruising experienced a major boom, with 30 million passengers in 2019. It created a demand for bigger, better, grander ships and a $150 billion industry that sustains 1.2 million jobs. For every 1% drop in cruising that occurs worldwide, up to 9,100 jobs can be lost. The whole industry is expecting now good signals before continue even to exist. Demand is being seen for 2021 vacations and beyond.