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What To Know Before You Go

(For cruises departing from the U.S.)

MSC Cruises highly recommends guests are fully vaccinated in order to enjoy a superior experience while sailing with us. Guests who are not fully vaccinated will be required to purchase a Travel Protection Plan with coverage for COVID-19 and will be subject to more stringent protocols which will be in place by the time you cruise. At the moment, these include but are not limited to the required purchase of MSC sponsored shore excursions in order to go ashore, required testing upon embarkation, while on board and disembarkation for cruises 5-nights & longer.


On board our ships sailing in the Caribbean, all guests will be able to enjoy a variety of entertainment, activities, venues, and dining options. At specific times, events, activities, venues and dining, will be designated for vaccinated guests only. If you are traveling together with non-vaccinated guests they will not be allowed to enter the vaccinated only areas, however we will have plenty of options for events open to all. Fully vaccinated guests are not required to wear masks or practice social distancing ONLY when attending a designated activity for vaccinated guests, otherwise, masks must be worn during your cruise. Please consult the Daily Program on board for specific details.

Please note that any guest, independent of vaccination, who has COVID-19 symptoms and is confirmed positive with onboard testing will be isolated (along with any close contacts) on board and disembarked at the home port at the end of the cruise (unless significant medical care is required before the end of the cruise, thus requiring emergency medical evacuation from the ship before the end of the cruise).  These cases and close contact will be managed according to MSC Cruises Health & Safety Protocol. 


All guests sailing must provide relevant documentation as per below and based on your individual case. Guests that do not present the appropriate documentation, will not be allowed to board.

A fully vaccinated guest is considered to be someone 12 years and older and they have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days after the second dose (or 14 days after the Johnson & Johnson 1 dose vaccine) prior to the cruise. Children under 12 years old traveling with parents/guardians that are fully vaccinated will be considered a fully vaccinated guest. 

A not fully vaccinated guest is considered to be someone: 1) who has not fully received their vaccination at least 14 days prior to the cruise; or 2) someone who is vaccinated but unwilling or unable to show their proof of vaccination. Children under 12 years old traveling with parents/guardian that are not fully vaccinated will be considered a not fully vaccinated guest.

MSC Cruises Travel & COVID-19 Reassurance For Fully Vaccinated Guests Only:  

Sailings on or before October 31, 2021 will be provided MSC Cruises COVID-19 Reassurance at no extra charge (with required proof of vaccination) as it relates to COVID-19 protection services. View description coverage/policy here.


Please note that because of the unpredictability of the current worldwide pandemic, changes in rules and regulations implemented by countries may affect your ability to disembark at a port of call or your ability to visit certain areas of a country.


  • Restaurants & Bars
    • To maintain health and safety standards, MSC Cruises has adapted processes for ordering, preparing, delivering, consuming and paying for food and beverage service
    • A new seating layout allows for social distancing, and all meals and drinks will be served at your table
    • Self-service at the buffet restaurant will be temporarily unavailable, and the food will be plated and served by our crew
    • For a contactless experience, you can access restaurant and bar menus from your personal mobile device by conveniently scanning a QR code
    • You will be required to wear a mask throughout the cruise while indoors and in public areas. Mask use is not required outdoors but is recommended for not fully vaccinated guests. Where social distancing is not possible outdoors, mask use is recommended for all guests.
  • Entertainment & Activities
    • Newly designed onboard activities and entertainment for smaller group sizes have been created
    • A wide array of activities including shows, entertainment and the Kids Club will be available by reservation at no extra charge
    • The capacity of the theater will be reduced to ensure responsible social distancing and the entertainment schedule will be extended so you can still enjoy a great variety of award-winning shows
    • All recreational and sporting equipment, fitness machines, toys, games and Kids Club equipment will be disinfected after each use

  • Onboard Areas & Pools
    • All open decks will be accessible
    • Pools, whirlpools and the Aquapark will be available with reduced occupancy for social distancing
    • Sun beds will be separated in clusters
    • All outdoor furniture will be disinfected after every use and deeper disinfection will take place every night


  • Guest Services & Cutting-Edge Technologies
    • Download our app MSC For Me (or use our interactive touchscreens and in-stateroom smart TV onboard) to easily find information while avoiding queues*
    • Remote desks will be available on embarkation day for in-person questions
    • You should always call before going to any desk for information
    • Cashless payments will be highly recommended

    *MSC for Me digital channels (mobile app, in-stateroom smart TV, interactive touchscreens) is available on MSC Meraviglia, MSC Bellissima, MSC Grandiosa, MSC Seaview, MSC Seaside, MSC Splendida, MSC Virtuosa and MSC Seashore and MSC Magnifica (limited version).

Experience, Bella | MSC Cruises

Enhanced cleaning & disInfecting

  • Elevated Standards of Cleanliness
    • New cleaning methods including the use of hospital-grade disinfectants, electrostatic sprayers, increased cleaning frequency and a focus on high-traffic, frequently-touched areas
    • Staterooms cleaned daily, with additional deep sanitation at the end of each cruise
    • 100% fresh, external air supplied to all staterooms and public spaces, with no re-circulation
    • Hand sanitizer dispensers available around the ship
  • Enhanced Medical Supplies & Services
    • Fully equipped Medical Center, including COVID-19 testing equipment, ventilators and increased number of highly trained staff on board
    • Comprehensive isolation and quarantine procedures and a response plan in place with local authorities that will be activated in case of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 situations



- Can anyone residing outside of the U.S. embark on a Bahamas or Caribbean cruise departing from the U.S.?

Currently, only U.S. residents can cruise through The Bahamas and the Caribbean from a U.S. port. Starting September 16, international guests will be welcomed on board.

- Is insurance required in order to travel?

A Travel Protection Plan with coverage for COVID-19 is required for guests who are not fully vaccinated or unable or unwilling to provide proof of vaccination as well as kids under 12 years old traveling with parents/guardians who are not fully vaccinated. Additionally, any fully vaccinated guest in the same stateroom with a not fully vaccinated guest (that is 12 years or older) will be required to purchase a Travel Protection Plan with coverage for COVID-19.


This must be purchased prior to making final payment on your cruise. If you’ve already booked your cruise and have not purchased a Travel Protection Plan with coverage for COVID-19, you may call 844-579-4349, if you booked direct with MSC Cruises, or contact your travel advisor to add this to your booking prior to final payment.  If insurance is not purchased within the allotted timeframe, you will be denied boarding.

For guests wanting to purchase their own travel insurance, it is required to provide coverage for COVID-19 protection.  Guests that purchase insurance other than the one offered by MSC Cruises must provide proof of their valid travel insurance policy that has a minimum of (a) $25,000 per person in medical expense coverage and (b) $50,000 coverage for emergency medical evacuation, both with no COVID-19 exclusions.  The insurance policy must name the guest as the policy holder or beneficiary.  Guests must bring a printed version of the insurance policy, showing the name of each of the covered guest(s) and a description of the coverage in the policy. This documentation will be reviewed by our staff at the terminal prior to boarding.  Without it, guests will be denied boarding.


Guests that purchase the insurance offered by MSC Cruises do not need to present these documents as this information will be included on your reservation and visible to the terminal agent. 


In addition, guests that purchase insurance other than the one offered by MSC Cruises will also be required to purchase our COVID-19 Protection Services. The COVID-19 Protection Services is for all guests 3 years and older and costs are as follows: $100 per guest for cruises 4 nights or less; $150 per guest for cruises 5 nights or longer. This protection service is in addition to insurance requirements and can be purchased prior to your cruise by calling 844-579-4349, if you booked direct with MSC Cruises, or contact your travel advisor to add this to your booking prior to final payment.


- What is the Travel Protection Plan with coverage for COVID-19?

Click here to find more information regarding our Travel Protection Plan with coverage for COVID-19

- Can I purchase the Travel Protection Plan with coverage for COVID-19 after I've booked my cruise? 

Yes, guests can purchase the Travel Protection Plan with coverage for COVID-19 offered by MSC Cruises after they've made a booking as long as final payment has not been completed. Once final payment has been made, guests will no longer be able to add the insurance.  You will be denied boarding if you have not fulfilled MSC Cruises’ insurance requirements.

- How will you confirm if I'm fully vaccinated or not fully vaccinated?

Upon embarkation, an original CDC Vaccination Card will be accepted as proof of vaccination.


- What happens if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 on board?

The precautionary health and safety steps in the protocol are designed to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission on board. If someone should fall sick, we have a fully equipped onboard 24/7 Medical Center with highly qualified medical staff who are fully trained for COVID-19 treatment and who are supported by a 24/7 ashore medical team.


In case of flu-like symptoms, guests should immediately notify the Medical Center and free treatment will be provided. If the onboard medical team determines a suspected COVID-19 case, a comprehensive isolation procedure and response plan, including contact tracing, will be activated in close cooperation with the health authorities.

- Have you agreed with specific ports that they will welcome your ships that have positive cases on board for medical assistance ashore?

Yes. As part of our comprehensive and enhanced health and safety protocol, we have a contingency response plan in place with all the relevant authorities in the ports where the ships will call.

- Do you have certified COVID-19 tests on board your ships?

Yes. We have FDA and CDC approved COVID-19 testing reagents and equipment on board.

- How is each guests health monitored onboard?

All MSC Cruises ships are equipped with state-of-the-art medical services and an increased number of qualified medical staff onboard, supported by a dedicated 24/7 ashore Medical Team. We continuously monitor the health of our guests and crew with contactless temperature checks during the cruise; in case of flu-like symptoms, guests should immediately notify the Medical Center and free treatment will be provided.


- Will social distancing rules be applied onboard? 

Yes. We have redesigned activities, adapted our services and reduced venue capacity to ensure that you can easily adhere to current social distancing recommendations, both onboard and ashore.

You will be reminded of social distancing guidelines at the time of booking and during your cruise through signage, public announcements, in-stateroom TV and staff engagement.

- Will guests be required to wear a mask?

You will be required to wear a mask throughout the cruise while indoors and in public areas. Mask use is not required outdoors but is recommended for not fully vaccinated guests. Where social distancing is not possible outdoors, mask use is recommended for all guests.
Please note that during embarkation, disembarkation and at all times when in the terminal, all guests must wear a mask and practice social distancing.


- How will the Main Dining experience change?

Our main dining restaurants will continue to serve our guests with a wide array of inspiring dishes and high-quality cuisine. We are modifying the seating layout to enable safe physical distancing, and guests will have the same table and waiter throughout their cruise for extra peace of mind.


We have enhanced the cleaning and disinfecting of all venues, providing appropriate protective equipment to all servers and increasing the number of hand sanitizer stations at all restaurants.

Guests are required to wear face masks when entering the venue but are not required when seated in the restaurants.

- Will the self-service at the buffet be available?

Food will be plated and served by our crew at the buffet.

- Will Specialty Restaurants be open?

Yes, our sought-after specialty restaurants will be open while operating at a reduced capacity to comply with the precautionary health and safety measures. Reservations are available at the time of booking or by logging in after you've made your booking. Keep in mind, you can save up to 15% vs. onboard prices!

- Will there be any changes to the bars and lounges?

Our bars will be open and ready to serve our guests with their favorite cocktail or aperitif. To ensure we comply with the current social distancing recommendations, our staff will deliver drinks at the table and we will limit the capacity of each venue. Face masks do not need to be worn by our guests when seated in bars and lounges for vaccinated guests. Not fully vaccinated guests must wear face masks.

- How can I pre-book my drinks or restaurants onboard?

You can save time by personalizing your cruise before getting on board. Manage your booking online and easily add drink packages or dining experiences, book shore excursions with our special pre-cruise rates. 

- How can I get the restaurants and drinks menu at bars and restaurants?

For a contactless experience, guests will access restaurant and bar menus from their personal mobile device by scanning a QR code while on board. Before the cruise, MSC Cruises invites all guests to download the free MSC for Me app to browse all onboard restaurants, bars and lounges and to ensure a seamless onboard experience including making restaurant reservations.


- Will guests still be able to enjoy the theater shows and other activities? 

Yes, guests will enjoy our onboard award-winning entertainment with a few modifications:


- Reduced theater capacity to allow for empty seats between guests

- Extended entertainment program so tall guests can enjoy our award-winning shows

- Pre-booking of shows and activities to manage the number of participants

- Will the Kids Club be open and what kind of kids’ activities will be available?

Our Kids Club and family activities will welcome kids and parents in a healthy and safe environment while ensuring a fun and enjoyable experience.

New measures include reduced capacity, a streamlined registration process, contactless temperature check and hand sanitization upon entry. We're adding new exciting activities and family game shows that will be available for booking up to one day in advance. Toys and water will be provided by our staff, while personal belongings are not permitted as an additional safety measure.

- Will you still have Spa and Fitness services available to guests? 

MSC Aurea Spa and Fitness facilities and services will be available* with enhanced health and sanitation measures, extended opening hours and reduced capacity in public spaces. Onboard services are subject to changes based on local regulations or other restrictions, in the context of the COVID-19 situation.


For health and comfort, guests will pre-book spa treatments, fitness sessions and thermal area visits by phone.


Fitness machines and equipment, spa areas and treatment rooms will be thoroughly disinfected after each use as well as deep-cleaned and disinfected every night.


All Spa staff have been trained on rigorous health and sanitation measures and will wear appropriate protective equipment.


*Depending on ship-class, the following experiences will be closed until further notice: Saunas, Steam Rooms, Heat Baths Whirlpools, Ice & Snow Experiences. Salt Relax Room, Harmonic Relax Rooms, Experience Showers, Heated Loungers will remain open to our guests.   

- Will guests be able to use the casino?

The casino remains fully functional under the new protocol with added disinfection and social distancing measures in place, including frequent disinfecting of chips, replacing playing cards on a regular basis and a reduced number of seats at gaming tables.

- Will there be any restrictions to visit some ports?

Fully vaccinated are free to go ashore in each port of call, including our exclusive private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, or enjoy one of our many offered shore excursions.


Not fully vaccinated guests will not be allowed to go ashore unless they purchase a shore excursion through MSC Cruises.   On Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, not fully vaccinated guests may spend the day as they wish or purchase one of our many offered shore excursions. .