(5:10 p.m. EDT) -- MSC Cruises formally announced its U.S. restart plans Monday, outlining sailings from Miami and Port Canaveral that are slated to begin in August and September.
MSC Meraviglia will be the first to return, with a series of three and four-night cruises departing from Miami beginning on August 2, 2021. Weeklong sailings aboard MSC Meraviglia will resume on September 18, 2021.
MSC Divina will begin three, four, and seven-night sailings from Port Canaveral on September 16, 2021.
These new departures will be available for booking starting Wednesday, June 16, 2021. All itineraries will include a call on MSC's private island, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve.
The announcement comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved MSC's Phase 2A Port Agreements, which are required by the agency's Framework for Conditional Sailing Order.
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The CDC has also green-lit a simulated cruise, or test cruise, aboard MSC Meraviglia, which will sail from Miami on July 17, 2021.
MSC Cruises is the latest cruise operator to be announce its restart plans in the United States after being granted approval to conduct test cruises by the CDC. Simulated Voyages are required for any cruise operator that intends to carry less than 95 percent fully vaccinated passengers onboard.
Itineraries for MSC Meraviglia and MSC Divina will be revealed in the coming week, along with health and safety protocols for passengers.
MSC will welcome both vaccinated and non-vaccinated passengers but, according to the line, those who are not vaccinated (or unable to verify vaccination status) will be subject to additional requirements and restrictions, such as additional testing, and other measures that are yet to be announced.
This language warning about additional restrictions for nonvaccinated passengers is similar to that introduced by Royal Caribbean last week, in outlining its plans to return 12 of its ships to the seas by the end of August.
Due to the new deployment of MSC Meraviglia and MSC Divina, existing voyages on both ships will be cancelled through September 17 and September 15, 2021, respectfully.
Caribbean sailings aboard MSC's third ship in the Caribbean, MSC Armonia, are now cancelled until October 24, 2021. The vessel will not participate in an early restart of the fleet at this time.
MSC says passengers on impacted voyages can rebook on one of the first sailings of MSC Meraviglia or MSC Divina, or on the new MSC Seashore, which is set to sail into PortMiami this November.
"After what has been a challenging period, we’re thrilled to say it’s finally time to cruise again," said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. "We are excited to be officially announcing our restart this summer from the U.S., and Florida in particular, as excitement is building for vacationers to get back to traveling and plan a much-deserved getaway."
"We want to thank our guests and partners, as well as Governor Ron DeSantis and the State of Florida, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Miami Dade County, PortMiami and Port Canaveral port officials. and the CDC for their strong support in bringing cruising back to the U.S. so we can get back to doing what we do best, providing our guests incredible and enriching vacations at sea."