Since August 2020 around sixty thousand Europeans – Germans, French, Brits, Spaniards and Italians – have managed to evade lockdowns and red zones. How? By boarding a cruise ship and experiencing a quasi-normal life: gyms, discos, cinema and theatre, bars and restaurants are all open.
The only one currently sailing in the Mediterranean is the MSC Grandiosa, a gigantic vessel launched in November 2019 and measuring 331 metres in length. On board are people who haven’t disembarked for two months, “because you can do everything here,” smiles young Marco Rupp from Schwäbisch Hall, in Germany, on holiday with his father for one week, “and it’s easy to forget what’s happening out there.” French insurance broker Christophe is more blunt, “we don’t love cruises but we didn’t have an alternative.”
Everything is possible thanks to rigorous safety protocols: facemasks, distancing, sanitisation and many, many swab tests prior to boarding, before every excursion and before disembarking at the end of the voyage.
( 2021 )