MSC Cruises is on track for to restart sailings in Japan come April 2021, having recently receiving its certificate of compliance from the country's official maritime classification society, ClassNK.
MSC Bellissima will be deployed to Japan and homeported in Yokohama, set to sail six to nine-night cruises starting April through June, and again in October and November, 2021.
Health and safety operating protocols of port authorities in Japan and MSC Cruises' Biosafety Management System (Covid-19) will also follow guidelines established by the Japan Oceangoing Passenger Ship Association.
"To be the first international cruise line in Japan to be awarded this key certification of compliance is a further testament to our robust and rigorous health and safety protocol which led the way for the entire global industry in August when we became the first major line to resume cruise operation in the Mediterranean," said Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO.
“We have now safely and responsibly carried more than 30,000 customers in the Mediterranean and can now look forward to offering the same for our guests who live in Japan."
As the first international cruise line homeporting in Japan to receive the nod from local authorities, sales has begun this month to local residents. All authorities involved, from ClassNK to the destination's various ports have expressed their support.
Calling this "great news", Hiroya Nakano, director-general of City of Yokohama’s Port and Harbor Bureau publicly pledged their commitment to
"cooperate accordingly for the restarting of international cruises in spring 2021".
MSC Cruises has also set its sights for reopening in other regions, where unique data from various sailings calling Italy, Greece and Malta in the past months are currently being reviewed by relevant authorities for a hoped phased restart.
“We believe...that this certification — in a country where the industry was at the centre of much attention very early in the pandemic — and the confirmation by authorities in Italy through their latest ministerial decree that cruising can continue, will go a long way to demonstrate the trust that we have been able to build with the protocol’s effective measures and their rigorous application for the benefit of guests, crew and the communities we serve.”