MSC Refuses to Let a Family Re-board Cruise After They Separated From Shore Excursion Group

MSC cruise ship

A family on MSC Cruises' first trip back on the water in the Mediterranean was not allowed back on board after separating from their group during an officially planned excursion.

Sailing on the MSC Grandiosa, the first cruise to hit the Mediterranean since Italy lifted its lockdown, the family broke off from the group during an excursion organized by the cruise line to Naples, USA Today reported. But they left the group during the excursion, breaking the “social bubble” the cruise line requires for port excursions, and were denied the chance to re-board the ship.

“This family broke from the 'social bubble' created for them and all other guests, and therefore could not be permitted to re-board the ship," Paige Rosenthal, a spokeswoman for MSC Cruises, told USA Today.

Ahead of its voyage MSC Cruises, which is set to launch a second ship in the Eastern Mediterranean later this month, declared that as a part of their new protocol, in wake of the coronavirus, guests are only allowed to leave the ship if they were on an excursion planned by the ship.

A spokeswoman for the cruise line did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Travel + Leisure. It was also not immediately clear how long the family left the group during the excursion, where they went, or what their accommodations are on land.

In addition to the family that broke off from their tour, Rosenthal said three people tested positive for COVID-19 on antigen swab tests following the excursion in Naples. They are currently waiting in Naples for the results of a second molecular test.

"The individuals stayed overnight in isolation for their safety and were offered the opportunity to join the ship in Palermo," she said. These passengers have chosen to wait and potentially join the next sailing embarking this coming weekend.

The cruises, which are limited to 70 percent capacity, are only open to residents of the Schengen area in Europe and passengers are subject to temperature checks and COVID-19 swabs upon boarding.

While onboard, they are also given wristbands, which work for contactless payment and access to staterooms as well as contact tracing, and are required to wear face masks in elevators and other public areas.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram @alisonwrites.

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