Cruisers sail – and party on amid Italy’s Easter lockdown
ABOARD THE MSC GRANDIOSA — Italy may be in a strict coronavirus lockdown this Easter with travel restricted between regions and new quarantines imposed. But a few miles offshore, guests aboard the MSC Grandiosa cruise ship are shimmying to Latin music on deck and sipping cocktails by the pool.
In one of the anomalies of lockdowns that have shuttered hotels and resorts around the world, the Grandiosa has been plying the Mediterranean Sea this winter with seven-night cruises, a lonely flag-bearer of the global cruise industry.
After cruise ships were early sources of highly publicized coronavirus outbreaks, the Grandiosa has tried to chart a course through the pandemic with strict anti-virus protocols approved by Italian authorities that seek to create a “health bubble” on board.
Passengers and crew are tested before and during cruises. Mask mandates, temperature checks, contact-tracing wristbands and frequent cleaning of the ship are all designed to prevent outbreaks. Passengers from outside Italy must arrive with negative COVID-19 tests taken within 48 hours of their departures and only residents of Europe’s Schengen countries plus Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria are permitted to book under COVID-19 insurance policies.
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