MSC Cruises has further extended it sailing suspension until 31 July, while revealing its summer 2021 programme with 19 ships operating.
UK and Irish guests impacted by the latest raft of cancellations will receive a 125% future cruise credit redeemable for any ship and any itinerary through to the end of 2021.
All credits will be issued automatically and guests will be able to redeem from June 21. Guests who do not wish to accept the credit are entitled to apply for a refund equal to the original amount of the cruise fare paid.
Guests who are currently booked on cruises between 1 August and 31 October 2020 will have their bookings covered under an extension of MSC’s Flexible Cruise Programme – allowing the rescheduling of cruises to a future departure date through to 31 December 2021.
The line has also revealed its summer 2021 cruise schedule featuring two new vessels currently under construction – MSC Virtuosa and MSC Seashore - as well as a series of “enriched” itineraries and homeports.
MSC said it would offer “a cruise length to suit everyone” from mini-cruises of three or four-nights, standard seven-night cruises to longer itineraries of nine, 11 and 14-nights.
MSC’s Seaside-class ships – including the yet-to-launch Seashore - will all be deployed together for the first time in the western Mediterranean.
Seashore will now come into service on 1 August, after a temporary shipyard closure due to Covid-19, and have the highest ratio of outdoor space per guest of any ship in MSC’s fleet and will offer a “Six Pearls” itinerary featuring calls in Genoa, Sicily, Valletta, Barcelona and Marseille, France.
The ship will be joined by sisters MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview in their Genoa homeport and operate seven-night cruises.
MSC will return to Tunisia from August when MSC Fantasia performs seven-night cruises from Genoa calling Marseille, Barcelona, La Goulette (Tunis), Palermo and Civitavecchia.
From 8 May, MSC Virtuosa will spend its first summer season with seven-to-14-night cruises from the German port of Kiel, alternating between the fjords and the Baltic capitals, with all itineraries offering embarkation in both Kiel and Copenhagen.
MSC Magnifica will homeport in Southampton and offer seven-night itineraries to the fjords of Norway, 14-nights to the Baltic capitals or the Mediterranean in mid-August, 12-nights to the Canary Islands and a seven-night cruise taking in the “Northern Pearls” of Hamburg, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre.
Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises chief executive, said: “While today we have taken the difficult decision to further extend the halt of operations of all our ships, it is important that we also look ahead as we know that our customers are dreaming of travel and are wanting to plan their holidays for next year. For this reason, we have now also confirmed our full summer programme for 2021.
“Our ships will return to service only when the time is right, in phases and by region, and following guidance from the relevant national and international health and other regulatory authorities and the support of a new operating protocol especially focused on health and safety, which we will announce soon. This way, gradually, all of our ships will return to sea between then and the beginning of our summer 2021 season.”