Coronavirus Alert on MSC Opera

Mar 04, 2020

The cruise ship MSC Opera is on high alert after Austrian passenger who disembarked the vessel on February 28, in Genoa, Italy tested positive for Coronavirus. MSC Cruises was notified today by the Austrian Health Authorities that upon arrival back home the man has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

MSC Opera was in the port of Piraeus, Greece when they received the news and the captain informed all passengers to return immediately back on the cruise ship, canceling all the excursions.

Passengers received a message saying they had to return to the ship because of a safety issue. But once they all were assembled on board, were informed through the captain's letter exactly what had happened. There are no passengers or crew members who have reported any flu-like symptoms, and no additional sanitary measures have been implemented. MSC Opera is currently sailing as planned and is continuing its scheduled voyage from Piraeus to Corfu.

The following letter signed by Captain Pietro Esposito was sent to guests on board MSC Opera

“I have just learned - and wanted you to know straight away - that we have been contacted by the Austrian Health Authorities who have informed us that a previous passenger who sailed with us last week on MSC Opera has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The male passenger, of Austrian nationality, disembarked from MSC Opera in Genoa, Italy on Friday morning 28 February, and is currently back in Austria.

To be clear: this person is not on board.

We are currently still waiting for further clarity and guidelines from the Austrian Health Authorities, and are in touch with the Greek Authoraties, however, we are proactively taking a number of preventive and precautionary measures to ensure the safety of all passengers. All passengers and crew are requested to remain on board until we have further clarity on the matter.

Please note there is no reason for concern. We have no indications that suggest there may be an issue currently on board MSC Opera, and there are no cases that suggest there may be a case of COVID-19.”

MSC Cruises released the following statement:

“Health Authorities in Austria today informed us that a passenger of Austrian nationality, who had cruised with us on MSC Opera in the East Mediterranean from 17 to 28 February, tested positive yesterday, 3 March, for COVID-19. This passenger returned directly to Austria through northern Italy on 28 February immediately after disembarking from his cruise in Genoa, Italy.

MSC Opera earlier today arrived in Piraeus, Greece, and we promptly informed the Greek Health Authorities about this reported case and asked for their guidelines. We requested at the same time that passengers, as a precautionary measure, remained on board while awaiting guidance from the local authorities.

We shared with the local health authorities the ship’s full medical records as well as the medical and travel history records of the former Austrian passenger.

The Greek health authorities gave MSC Opera permission around 13:00 CET to sail from Piraeus, Greece, and continue its journey to its next scheduled port in Corfu, Greece. No additional health measures were required to be taken and the ship is currently sailing as planned.

There are no passengers or crew members currently on board the ship who have reported any flu-like symptoms.

The health and safety of our passengers and crew will always remain our top priority.”


MSC Cruises released today the latest update regarding MSC Opera current status: "MSC Opera today – Thursday 5 March - docked as scheduled at the port of Corfu, Greece. The MSC Cruises’ ship has 1,579 passengers and 723 crew onboard; a total of 2,302. All were allowed to disembark, as planned. At no time have passengers or crew been quarantined and all were able to freely make use of the ship’s facilities and restaurants before it departed yesterday from Piraeus in Greece for Corfu."

There is a conflicting report by the Athens-based correspondent for the New York Times and managing editor of the Greek daily newspaper “Kathimerini” Niki Kitsantonis, who announced on Twitter that the health officials will test 2,000 passengers onboard.