Letter from crew member: Officers can get away with what they want while the crew can’t have social life and get warning just for breathing air

Jan 29, 2022

MSC Cruises crew member has sent a letter to Crew Center voicing his concerns about how the company’s health and safety rules are followed by the crew and the high-ranking officers. The crew member states that while the crew are the ones who are following the rules under tremendous pressure, people who need to lead by example have privileges due to their high-ranking positions.

The crew are facing strict restrictions with most recreational facilities closed and some of them have been given ridiculous warnings for simply going out on the open deck to get fresh air. 

“I would like to let people know what is happening on board the ship. Since a couple of weeks the crew of MSC Virtuosa has been denied any kind of freedom as for masters decision. 

Crew that need to undergo preventative quarantine or isolation is put into internal passenger cabin with no balcony and not even a porthole, which means they are put for several days alone with no daylight at all. As a consequence crew are scared to report themselves and any kind of sickness symptoms as they don’t wanna end up in this non-human situation.

Crew is not allowed to stay anywhere different from the office/work place and cabin. Crew bar is open only at specific times and is only for take away and for a maximum of 2 alcoholic drinks per day, crew gym is closed, crew pool/sun deck is off-limits and now if you don’t smoke you can’t even stay on open deck 7 to catch some air. 

Several crew members have been given ridiculous written warnings (disciplinary actions) for just going to get fresh air on open deck, to connect to the terminals WiFi (from the open deck), for just walking in passenger area, even people on duty or buying things in the ports terminal. In addition to this several crew members and head of department have been issued a warning for being in passenger area on New Year’s Eve even though the permission to be in public areas was granted and sent to everybody. Crew is now not allowed to go to the onboard shops and restaurants are for take away only.

On the other hand in the mess food before was being served from the mess attendants and is now being self-served with everybody touching the cutlery, which makes no sense with positive cases increasing on board.

The food is getting worse and worse every day in the mess and also in quarantine. At the same time officers can sit all together, more than 8 at the same table at a buffet dedicated area. No crew welfare meeting has been held since more than 2 months.

Crew are sharing cabins and are getting infected by the cabin mate. The cases increased not because of the crew not following the protocol but because of the guests not following it and because the crew is also getting in contact with infected covid antigenic tests made weekly on board. 

With passengers being able to go ashore by themselves with no restrictions there is no reason to treat the crew like this when the protocol is stating that the crew should have more privileges.

The thing is not all officers disrespect the rules, the problem that we are facing is that many officers can get away with what they want and they are still having a decent ship life whilst all the others can’t have social life and get warning just for breathing air. Some of the high ranks don’t even go into isolation when they are supposed to do it doesn’t really matter about the porthole but of course they’d get balcony with whirlpool. This master is taking decisions by himself without respecting the company’s protocols and guidelines while he is the first one not respecting them. The ship is calling at a private island where the crew were allowed to have one day of shore leave in a week as there’s nobody else besides them and the same passengers that are on board, and now for no reason, this has also been denied. Wondering why crew have taxes for crew welfare in their pay-slips when nothing is done on board to justify it.”