Italy's leading cruise operators, MSC and Costa Cruises, welcomed the country's green light to sail.

MSC Grandiosa to sail Aug. 16, MSC Magnifica Aug. 29

MSC Cruises is ready to go with MSC Grandiosa from Genoa on Aug. 16 and MSC Magnifica from Bari Aug. 29, as earlier reported here, and Costa said it will announce its itineraries soon. Both companies have protocols in place and have worked with classification society RINA to verify compliance.

‘We warmly thank the Italian government with all its articulations, and also the Port Authority Corps, Civil Protection and Maritime Health, for the precious and decisive support given both in emergency phase, welcoming our ships and our crews, both in this of the restart with the definition of the new protocols and the reopening of the ports,’ said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises.

Costa excited to begin cruising ‘soon’

For his part, Michael Thamm, group CEO Costa Group and Carnival Asia, said the company is ‘extremely excited that we will be able to cruise again soon and we want to thank the Italian government and all the authorities for their constant availability and support.’

He added: ‘The cruise industry and Costa specifically, as the only Italian cruise company, create significant value to the economy and to the destinations we visit. The gradual restart of our operations will give relief to the local economies in port communities and to the whole ecosystem of almost 5,000 suppliers and business partners and over 7,500 travel agents in Italy who have been suffering from the pause of our activities.’

Thamm called the resumption of cruises a ‘great responsibility’ in respect to passengers, crew and the communities visited.

‘In the next days, we will be working closely with national and local authorities, ports and terminals, RINA and internally on board our ships, for the full implementation of the protocols issued by the Italian government so we can all together guarantee a smooth, well-organized and safe restart of our cruises, both on board and ashore.’

He said Costa will soon detail its itineraries.