The MSC Meraviglia was denied entry to two popular Caribbean cruise ports in fear of the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
MSC Meraviglia Coronavirus Fear
As the deadly virus continues to spread beyond just mainland China and across the world, the cruise industry is being heavily impacted. In the latest developments, the MSC Meraviglia has been denied entry to Ocho Rios in Jamaica and George Town in the Cayman Island due to fear of the virus.
However, there are no confirmed Covid-19 cases on board and just one crew member from the Philippines has the common flu. This was reported to health authorities but as a precaution, the ship was denied.
The cruise line stated in a letter to guests:
After waiting for guidance in Cho Rios for nearly four hours, we ultimately decided to leave for Georg Town, Cayman Islands. MSC Cruises has been in discussions with local officials in the Cayman Islands throughout the day on February 25 in hopes that we would be allowed to dock at the island on February 26.
After discussions with the government of Cayman Island, the MSC Meraviglia was also denied. Do note that ships at the port have to tender guests ashore and back again. There is no cruise dock at George Town. The cruise line mentioned in the letter, “In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, they have denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled.”
The large MSC cruise ship is currently sailing a 7-day Caribbean cruise and was originally scheduled to call in Ocho Rios, Jamaica on February 25 and then Grand Cayman on February 26. There is scheduled all in Cozumel, Mexico tomorrow, February 27 and then the final port of all at the cruise line’s new private island Ocean Cay in the Bahamas on February 29. MSC Meraviglia is scheduled to arrive back in Miami, Florida on March 1, 2020.
It is likely the next ports on the itinerary will go ahead as normal as Cozumel welcomes several large cruise ships almost daily and Ocean Cay is owned by MSC Cruises.
The cruise line does have strict health restrictions in place across the fleet due to the Coronavirus and to keep guests and crew safe. Everyone is screened individually during embarkation and travel history is checked. The crew member in question joined the ship in Miami on February 23 and passed the health screening.
To make up for the lost port of calls MSC is offering $200 per stateroom of onboard credit. Any shore excursions booked for Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman through the cruise line are being refunded automatically.
As of writing this the Coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 worldwide and killed 2,700. There is also a sharp increase in cases in Italy, South Korea and Iran. The majority of cases are still in mainland China but there are fears the virus will continue to spread and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is preparing for a pandemic.