This part of the journal is written ten days before departure and we are living the most hectic days before any vacation we had.
The issue is not the cruise, but all the laws and restrictions that are ruling this COVID period.
We booked the cruise at the beginning of August, when the COVID mess was slowing down and cruises were allowed to restart operation. It was supposed to be a Mediterranean cruise with stops in France and Spain.
Then the pandemic exploded especially in these two countries. While we were thinking what to do, MSC helped us changing the itinerary of our cruise which became an (almost) Italian cruise only. To compensate passengers for the change, MSC offered three free excursions and 200€ of shipboard credit. We were very happy to accept the change of itinerary and the compensation :)
Then pandemic exploded also in Italy and, one month ago, cruises were supposed to stop. But, after long fights in the Governments, they have been authorized to continue operations, but only with strict sanitary protocols (which actually was already the case)
We were happy, but suddenly discovered that we were not allowed to board, because we are living in a high risk (red) region... but there were still six weeks before boarding, so things were still changing.
One week ago the good news! Lombardia was 'upgraded to orange' (medium risk) so, in principle, we should be able to board... but ... to board we have to reach Genoa and people in orange regions are not allowed to leave their city unless very few exceptions, to be clearly documented in a self-declaration.
So what to do? ... At this point I checked the exact wording of the law and discovered "a suitable exception"! Orange guys were allowed to leave their residence to reach a place with "services not available in their city" ... well ... for sure Cruising is a service and it's not available in Milan (we are short of sea here) :)
So we were happy and quite relaxed ... but new laws / rules were approaching !
To reduce the risks of spreading the virus during Christmas period, a new set of restrictions was planned. Anyway cruises were supposed to be still on the safe side due to tight sanitary protocols.
But a group of idiots rented a cruise ship and advertised on the newspapers a New Year Eve cruise with any kind of wild party without controls to escape from land restrictions.
This was noticed by the Government and all cruises were banned !
Then we discovered that the Cruise stop was starting the 21st of December. We were happy again ... our cruise is scheduled 13th-20th of December ...
We were safe ... but ...
The law was stating that, starting from the 20th of December, all the ships with non Italian flag were not allowed to enter any Italian port anymore.
MSC Grandiosa has Malta flag and was supposed to finish our Cruise, entering the Genoa port exactly that day ! So ... what will happen ?
Then I realized ... ships cannot enter the port on the 20th, but nothing prevents the ship to enter the port during the night and have debarkation the day after. 19th of December is a day at sea, so it would be very easy for the ship to anticipate the end of its last leg and reach the port on Saturday night. and debark on Sunday the 20th as planned :) also this issue is solved !
Now there are still two issues ... first we have to reach the port avoiding police control or finding policemen who accept our "exceptional case" (to reach a ship not available in Milan :) ) and then we have to pass the COVID test before embarkation ...
Next installment in ten days... from our stateroom ... hopefully !