MSC Cruises is dropping its COVID-19 testing requirement for sailings from U.S. cruise ports.
Starting on Aug. 8, MSC will no longer require guests on sailings five nights or less from U.S. ports to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to embarkation. Instead, MSC will only recommend guests get tested.
Guests 2 years and older who are unvaccinated must show proof of a negative viral test (NAAT or antigen) within three days of embarkation for all sailings leaving from U.S. ports, and MSC is recommending those guests get tested within one day of departure. MSC is still requiring vaccination for guests 12 years and older, so most of those guests sailing unvaccinated will either be children or will have a vaccination exemption from MSC.
Those on sailings of six nights or longer from U.S. cruise ports will also have that same testing requirement, whether they are vaccinated or not.
As part of the announcement, MSC said that its “top priority remains to protect the health and safety of its guests, crew, and the communities” its ships visit.
With the news, MSC becomes another major ocean cruise line that has opted to change protocols on some sailings in light of the recent decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to end its Cruise Ship Monitoring program.