Italian Cruises Will Pause due to Holiday Travel Restrictions

cruises from Italy suspending due to holiday travel restrictions
Costa Smeralda in Savona, Italy on a previous cruise - courtesy Costa Cruises

Published Dec 4, 2020 3:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

The cruises operating from Italy have agreed with the Italian government to pause operations during the holiday season. This aligns with Italy’s efforts to reduce transmission of the virus between Christmas and New Year’s by implementing extensive travel restrictions.

Fearful of increased community spread of the virus due to holiday parties and gatherings, the Italian government has said it will tighten the restrictions on travel for residents limiting movement between regions, cities, and towns as well as limiting the ability of individuals from other countries to travel to, through, and from Italy. These increased limitations are temporary running from December 21, 2020, to January 6, 2021.

Saying that it would comply with the provisions announced by the Italian government, Costa Cruises will suspend cruises from December 20. Costa plans to resume sailing with the Costa Smeralda on January 7, 2021, with one-week cruises from Civitavecchia. Costa also said that it would be offering the option of dividing the cruise into two short cruises of three and four days. The four-day mini-cruise will visit central and southern Italy, with stopovers in Naples, Messina, and Cagliari. The three-day cruise sails towards central and northern Italy, and includes visits to Civitavecchia, La Spezia, and Savona. 

Costa Cruises expressed its regret at canceling the holiday season trips noting that it understood the disappointment of travelers, but that this was a broader effort for the entire country. The line had previously announced that it also planned to resume cruises on the Costa Deliziosa starting December 26, with an Italian itinerary on the Adriatic Sea and the eastern Mediterranean, including Trieste, Bari, Brindisi and Catania.

Saying that the new rules will severely impact the ability of both Italian residents and individuals from overseas to reach any of the embarkation ports in Italy, MSC Cruises all said it would temporarily pause its cruise operations aboard two of its cruise ships. 

Starting on December 20, MSC is canceling three one-week sailings aboard the MSC Grandiosa from Genoa. The line expects to resume the Western Mediterranean cruises to the Italian ports and Malta on January 10, 2021. Also, MSC had planned to resume 10-night cruises aboard the MSC Magnifica to the western and eastern Mediterranean on December 18, from Genoa. The company is postponing that program till January 15, 2021, canceling three planned cruises.

MSC Cruises noted that it has been sailing uninterrupted since August 16 when the MSC Grandiosa returned to service. Over the past four months, MSC reports it has carried more than 30,000 passengers aboard its cruises.

While the holiday season cruises from Italy are being canceled, the cruises in the Canary Island plan to continue uninterrupted. TUI Cruises yesterday announced that it had been forced to cancel its planned 35-day cruise from Germany to the Caribbean for the holidays. The company will as a replacement add a three-week cruise aboard the Mein Schiff 1 also around the Canary Islands for passengers who had been booked for the Caribbean cruise. Due to start on December 17, TUI is offering passengers a reduced price as an incentive to switch to the Canary Island cruise and in recognition of the disruption to people’s travel plans.