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How to assess risk from Coronavirus on MSC Seaview Grand Voyage March 19 to April 4, 2020, Brazil to Barcelona?

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We (2 people) are booked on the MSC Seaview Grand Voyage from Santos Brazil to Barcelona, Spain, March 19 to April 4, 2020. 

 

As of today, the cruise is scheduled to sail as planned and will stop in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Maceio in Brazil and Tenerife, Cadiz, and Malaga in Spain. 

There will be 6 days at sea in the middle of the cruise. 

 

It is hard to assess how risky it will be to sail given the coronavirus situation. We are particularly concerned about being away from ports for 6 consecutive days while crossing the Atlantic. If someone on the cruise fell ill during that time and needed hospitalization, there would be limited resources available. And since the cruise is so long (16 nights), any illnesses among passengers will have ample time to spread to other passengers.

 

An MSC representative also said on the phone that when the cruise arrives in Spain (about 3 and l/2 weeks from now), it's possible that it will not be allowed to dock, in which case MSC would look for an alternative port in the Mediterranean. 


MSC already made a change to one of the ports (rather than stopping in Fortaleza, the Seaview will now stop in Maceio, Brazil), but we received no information or notification about this change from MSC -- I just noticed the change when looking at our cruise information on the MSC website.

 

This is our very first cruise (we have never cruised before!), and so we do not know what to expect and how to assess the level of risk.


To the other Cruise Critic board members, we would really appreciate your input on what you would do in this situation. 

 

Many thanks!
 

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5 minutes ago, mattcruise615 said:

We (2 people) are booked on the MSC Seaview Grand Voyage from Santos Brazil to Barcelona, Spain, March 19 to April 4, 2020. 

 

As of today, the cruise is scheduled to sail as planned and will stop in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Maceio in Brazil and Tenerife, Cadiz, and Malaga in Spain. 

There will be 6 days at sea in the middle of the cruise. 

 

It is hard to assess how risky it will be to sail given the coronavirus situation. We are particularly concerned about being away from ports for 6 consecutive days while crossing the Atlantic. If someone on the cruise fell ill during that time and needed hospitalization, there would be limited resources available. And since the cruise is so long (16 nights), any illnesses among passengers will have ample time to spread to other passengers.

 

An MSC representative also said on the phone that when the cruise arrives in Spain (about 3 and l/2 weeks from now), it's possible that it will not be allowed to dock, in which case MSC would look for an alternative port in the Mediterranean. 


MSC already made a change to one of the ports (rather than stopping in Fortaleza, the Seaview will now stop in Maceio, Brazil), but we received no information or notification about this change from MSC -- I just noticed the change when looking at our cruise information on the MSC website.

 

This is our very first cruise (we have never cruised before!), and so we do not know what to expect and how to assess the level of risk.


To the other Cruise Critic board members, we would really appreciate your input on what you would do in this situation. 

 

Many thanks!
 

Welcome to CC.  Understand fluid situation and a TA has additional dynamics.  IMO though, pretty much anyone going on a cruise has many unknowns.  VP Pence meeting with cruise industry.  Not sure what they going to talk about.

 

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Hi Dexddd, 

 

Thank you very much for the helpful responses! 

 

Just today also MSC discovered that a former passenger who travelled on the MSC Opera during the end of February has now tested positive for coronavirus: 

https://www.msccruises.com/en-gl/About-MSC/News/MSC-Opera-Update.aspx

 

MSC reports that no one else on the MSC Opera currently has any flu-like symptoms, so they are continuing the voyage without interruption. 

 

I personally find their response somewhat irresponsible given that they don't know for sure if the individual contracted the virus on board the ship or not. Given the lack of knowledge about the incubation time, it is possible that the individual could have contracted the virus on the ship. 

 

This makes their response seem lax and not very reassuring in comparison to, for example, the cleaning job that Princess Cruises is undertaking on their own ship: https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/22495-princess-issues-rfp-to-clean-and-sanitize-diamond-princess.html

 

 

 

 

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Yes, Eroller (Ernie) has a post about Opera with more info.

 

From another post, meeting with VP is Saturday.  Maybe they'll meet in Miami.

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I don’t think there is any way to assess risk - unchartered territory.  
 

I’d probably go though. 

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To the OP, We were booked on a Grand Voyage from Buenos Aires to Venice on March 25th. Similar situation as yours with many sea days. After a very long analysis we have cancelled it.

Several reasons:

- no one can guarantee that by screening in Buenos Aires, someone who does not show symptoms could not developed them on the long cruise within 14 days or after them

- all measures to avoid getting sick imply not being near to many people and have an increase care on etiquette if coughing or sneezing. We could be as careful as we wish, but after being in many cruises with other people, we are not confident about their hygiene

- in case one of us gets sick we will both get quarantined most probably in our room. This is not our idea of vacation

- in case we get sick, since we are not young anymore, the probability of dying increase. 
 

I could go on but those were out main reasons. We have canceled with a 40% penalty for cancelling. 

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I can see Brazil turning the ship away if there is any reason at all.  People are poor in Brazil and so is health care, I doubt they will be taking risks.

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5 hours ago, travelberlin said:

I could go on but those were out main reasons. We have canceled with a 40% penalty for cancelling. 

 

Terrible luck; not sure I would cruise again after being forced to roll the dice.

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Hi travelberlin, resistk, and TrinaLC, 

 

Many thanks for the helpful responses! 

 

@travelberlin, I agree with your logic and the good points you made. I'm glad that you were able to get some money back with the 40% cancellation fee.

 

Our first choice would also be to simply cancel and ask for a refund. But MSC is telling us that if we cancel now, we will not be refunded anything because the cruise departs in 13 days. 

We also asked them what would happen if we simply did not show up for the cruise, and they said that we will be charged a "no show fee" of about 50% of the fare per passenger on top of the fare that we've already paid. 

 

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2 hours ago, mattcruise615 said:

Hi travelberlin, resistk, and TrinaLC, 

 

Many thanks for the helpful responses! 

 

@travelberlin, I agree with your logic and the good points you made. I'm glad that you were able to get some money back with the 40% cancellation fee.

 

Our first choice would also be to simply cancel and ask for a refund. But MSC is telling us that if we cancel now, we will not be refunded anything because the cruise departs in 13 days. 

We also asked them what would happen if we simply did not show up for the cruise, and they said that we will be charged a "no show fee" of about 50% of the fare per passenger on top of the fare that we've already paid. 

 

You better read your Terms and Conditions, I don't see how you can be charged a "no show" penalty for not showing up.  They already would have 100% of the fare.

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Hi resistk, 

 

Thanks for pointing that out! That's really helpful. I will call MSC again to clarify.

 

 

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12 hours ago, mattcruise615 said:

Hi travelberlin, resistk, and TrinaLC, 

 

Many thanks for the helpful responses! 

 

@travelberlin, I agree with your logic and the good points you made. I'm glad that you were able to get some money back with the 40% cancellation fee.

 

Our first choice would also be to simply cancel and ask for a refund. But MSC is telling us that if we cancel now, we will not be refunded anything because the cruise departs in 13 days. 

We also asked them what would happen if we simply did not show up for the cruise, and they said that we will be charged a "no show fee" of about 50% of the fare per passenger on top of the fare that we've already paid. 

 

Wait, the way I read this is that they are saying they will charge you 50% more to *not* sail than if you were sailing.  Can anyone do a read of the contract right now to see if that is possible because it sure doesnt make any kind of sense!

 

Maybe he meant that you would, in essence, get a 50% refund but something got lost in translation? :fingerscrossed:

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3 hours ago, aprilF said:

Wait, the way I read this is that they are saying they will charge you 50% more to *not* sail than if you were sailing.  Can anyone do a read of the contract right now to see if that is possible because it sure doesnt make any kind of sense!

 

Maybe he meant that you would, in essence, get a 50% refund but something got lost in translation? :fingerscrossed:

Just updating since I have no edit button.  I read through the policies for US passengers and it explicitly states no refund but no additional charges for no shows.  So either you are outside the US (and have wacky policies) or the rep was just making stuff up.  Or, I guess, weve figured out how MSC plans to stay afloat. 

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Hi aprilF, 

 

We booked through the German office of MSC (which is located in Vienna and handles customers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). So they may have different policies, we are trying to find that out. 

 

We cannot find anything about a "no show fee" in the fine print and contract that we received with our booking from the German office. However, we called them again (the German MSC office) to ask and got a different representative and they said the same thing about a 50% charge per person will be added on to our original bill.

 

Maybe this is a special policy that they have only for long itineraries (15+ nights), or for Grand Voyages (repositioning cruises) only? In any case, it seems like it is applicable only for booking through the German office. 

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Posted (edited)

I think what they must be saying is that two weeks out, the cancellation penalty goes from 50% to 100%, in other words a 50% increase.  How could they even collect an additional no show fee , especially if it is not in your contract?

Edited by resistk

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Hi Matt,

 

There is so much speculation on this subject.  I would boil it down to: Are you and your mate in good health?  If so you should go.  You should also be aware that you might need to spend a few weeks in quarantine if things don’t go your way.  If you feel that you are not physically up to it then canceling would be right except you are now 13 days away and they want 50% more on top!  If you have the wherewithal to be quarantined for an extra two or three weeks then I would say Go!  

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10 hours ago, mattcruise615 said:

Hi aprilF, 

 

We booked through the German office of MSC (which is located in Vienna and handles customers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). So they may have different policies, we are trying to find that out. 

 

We cannot find anything about a "no show fee" in the fine print and contract that we received with our booking from the German office. However, we called them again (the German MSC office) to ask and got a different representative and they said the same thing about a 50% charge per person will be added on to our original bill.

 

Maybe this is a special policy that they have only for long itineraries (15+ nights), or for Grand Voyages (repositioning cruises) only? In any case, it seems like it is applicable only for booking through the German office. 

We have booked with the German MSC. They have very clear terms and conditions. You are able to cancel at different dates before your cruise. In our case if we cancelled up to 22 days before the cruise, we have to pay 40% of the cruise fare. This is what we did. It is not an additional payment. Our cruise was paid in full. So now we are waiting for the refund from MSC for what we have paid minus the 40% of the cruise fare.


 

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13 hours ago, mattcruise615 said:

Hi aprilF, 

 

We booked through the German office of MSC (which is located in Vienna and handles customers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). So they may have different policies, we are trying to find that out. 

 

We cannot find anything about a "no show fee" in the fine print and contract that we received with our booking from the German office. However, we called them again (the German MSC office) to ask and got a different representative and they said the same thing about a 50% charge per person will be added on to our original bill.

 

Maybe this is a special policy that they have only for long itineraries (15+ nights), or for Grand Voyages (repositioning cruises) only? In any case, it seems like it is applicable only for booking through the German office. 

Well thats just crazypants.  How do they even justify that?  I can see giving no refund except for port fees.  But you arent on the ship eating their food, using their water and electricity.  If anything you are a negative cost to them.  It does impact your service team in that their tips will be less for that sailing.  But I doubt that extra 50% is going to your service team.

 

I hope the people you talked with are incorrect. 

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