As a further blow to the cruise industry, MSC Cruises announced today (24 August) that it has had to postpone the restart of its cruise ship MSC Magnifica until 26 September.

In a statement, the cruise line said: “In connection with the recent introduction of additional testing measures for residents of Italy having travelled to Greece, we are seeing cancellations and a softening in demand since the ship’s itinerary includes as many as three ports in that country. This has led to the decision to delay the restart of the ship by four weeks.”

MSC Cruises added that it believes that reservations will start to pick up again in the coming weeks due to the appeal of the itinerary.

MSC Magnifica’s sales are open to residents of the Schengen area, but with the majority of guests expected to be Italian nationals and residents.

As a result of this, MSC Magnifica cruise departures from 29 August to 19 September have been cancelled. The first cruise will depart from Bari, Italy with an unchanged itinerary on 26 September.

MSC Cruises Grandiosa, MSC Cruises
MSC Grandiosa resumed sailings this month in the Med

Guests affected by the cancelled cruises will either be re-protected onto another cruise – in particular on MSC Grandiosa, which is currently sailing in the West Mediterranean – or will receive a future cruise credit (FCC) where they have the opportunity to transfer the full amount paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice – on any ship, for any itinerary – through to the end of 2021.

For UK & Irish guests, due to the current FCO advice, all cruises have already been cancelled and options including 125 per cent FCC have been shared with guests.

Things had been looking up for MSC Cruises, with the cruise line having restarted MSC Grandiosa sailings in the Mediterranean this month, the first major cruise ship to set sail after the five-month cruise suspension. The cruise ship is operating at a 70 per cent reduced capacity, with enhanced health & safety protocols in place.

Itineraries include seven-night cruises with embarkation in the Italian ports of Genoa, Civitavecchia, Naples and Palermo and calling additionally at Valetta, Malta.

Visit msccruises.co.uk for more information.