Cruise

MSC halts operations, CMV executes passenger swap

Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) and MSC are the latest cruise lines to suspend operations, with CMV performing a passenger swop between its ships to ensure everyone was able to get home safely.

CMV announced earlier this week it would be suspending cruise operations until 24 April due to “the escalating global pandemic outbreak of COVID-19, updated Government advisories and the impending lockdown of many ports around the world”.

“Due to this fast-evolving global pandemic, we are simply unable to continue performing our scheduled itineraries and to deliver the travel experience expected by our valued passengers,” CMV CEO Christian Verhounig said.

The line confirmed it will offer all passengers affected a full refund or future cruise credit of 125 per cent the value of their cruise.

CMV has also gotten a bit crafty with how they get all passengers on existing cruises home, performing a swapping act between two of its cruise ships.

On Tuesday, Vasco da Gama met CMV’s Columbus at anchorage off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, advising all Australian and New Zealand nationals and residents remained onboard Vasco da Gama, while those onboard Columbus were transferred to Vasco da Gama by tender.

Vasco da Gama set sail in the early afternoon for Fremantle, Australia where guests will disembark around 27 March.

European nationals and residents were transferred from Vasco da Gama to Columbus to join other Europeans before setting sail for London Tilbury, where guests are expected to disembark around 13 April.

Meanwhile, MSC Cruises has also confirmed it has halted all its new embarkations fleet-wide until 30 April.

Ships that are currently still at sea will conclude their current itinerary to return guests to their disembarkation ports, then also stop their operation.

“As the COVID-19 situation is now a global pandemic, governments across the globe are continuously reviewing ashore public health and safety measures to protect local populations and limit the further spread of the virus,” the line said in a statement.

“MSC Cruises’ decision last week to halt all its operation fleet-wide for a period of at least 45 days aims to mirror and further support the effectiveness of such efforts.”

MSC Cruises is offering guests affected by this extraordinary measure the opportunity to transfer 100 per cent of the money paid for their cancelled cruise, plus an additional generous credit benefit to a future cruise, at any point through to the end of 2021.

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