MSC Cruises suspends travel due to coronavirus outbreak

Image via MSC Cruises / Facebook

MSC Cruises suspend domestic departures due to coronavirus outbreak

A MSC Cruises ship departed on Monday, despite non-essential travel warnings, due to the coronavirus.

MSC Cruises suspends travel due to coronavirus outbreak

Image via MSC Cruises / Facebook

Global cruise liner MSC Cruises announced on Tuesday 17 March that it has suspended all departures for the 2019/2020 cruise season that ends in April due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A cruise ship that departed on Monday 16 March and is due to return on 20 March, was the last cruise to leave the dock according to its statement. The ship departed on Monday even though President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced a ban on non-essential travel on Sunday.

MSC Cruises South Africa managing director Ross Volk said: “This is not a decision we took lightly, but under the current circumstances, the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities ashore — including our employees and their families — must come first. As a family company with more than 300 years of maritime tradition, we felt that this was the right decision to make.”

MSC Cruises send out ship despite coronavirus warnings 

According to EWN, MSC Cruises assured all travellers on its ships that, despite Ramaphosa announcing a ban of gatherings of more than 100 people at a time, it received confirmation from the Health Department that malls, airports and cinemas were still operational. 

The liner later stated that all guests who had not yet travelled, would be given a voucher that they can redeem over the next cruise season which begins in November.

“In light of this, customers will receive a voucher for the value of their current 2019/2020 cruise package, which they can redeem in the upcoming local cruise season in 2020/2021. In addition, they will also receive a shipboard credit of $50 per cabin to be used on a cruise in the next season,” it said. 

For any other expenses that guests may have incurred, such as flights, hotels and transport, they will need to contact their travel insurance company or supplier directly.

What happens to guests booked on remaining cruises?  

Due to the above suspension in operations, guests booked on the remaining theme cruises, as well as the Grand Voyage, will receive separate communications to explain the changes relating to cancelled cruises due to the coronavirus.

Each passenger on the remaining cruises will receive communication in the coming days explaining the voucher. 

“Due to the volume of passengers affected by this announcement we would appreciate your patience and understanding,” the statement added. 

When ready to redeem a voucher, one can contact the Customer Care department at