European cruise lines MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises announced their plans to resume voyages around the continent later this month.
MSC Cruises plans to resume cruises from the port of Genoa, Italy on Jan. 24, with weekly cruises of the western Mediterranean aboard the MSC Grandiosa. The cruise line originally intended on bringing back ships earlier in the month, but the Italian government has blocked port access until Jan. 15, reps for the company said in a statement. On Feb. 14, the MSC Magnifica will also return to sea, with 11-night cruises of Italy, Greece, and Malta. The relaunch of that ship was also pushed back, due to restrictions by the Greek government.
Costa Cruises plans to resume its cruises on Jan. 31 onboard the Costa Deliziosa. Travelers will be able to book three, four, and seven-day itineraries to Italian ports.
MSC and Costa were two of the first cruise lines to bring back cruises over the summer, with Mediterranean voyages in August and September. Passengers aboard the summer cruises were required to board the ship in staggered groups, maintain social distancing on board, and undergo a COVID-19 swab test.
Gallery: These cruise ships are set to debut in 2021 (USA TODAY)
When a second wave of COVID-19 hit in the autumn, the cruise lines began cancelling itineraries in November and through the holiday season.
The two cruise lines are planning on resuming cruises in Italy, despite the country reporting thousands of daily new cases of COVID-19. Earlier this week, the Italian government extended a nationwide lockdown that bans travel between regions until Jan. 15.
Italy has reported a total of more than 2.2 million cases and more than 77,000 deaths related to COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, many other cruise lines around the world are cancelling itineraries well into 2021. Earlier this week, several cruise lines owned by Carnival announced cancellations well into the summer.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.
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