VALENCIA – Two people on board have tested positive for Corona on a cruise ship docked in Valencia. There have been many passenger complaints. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has activated the Covid protocol on the MSC Grandiosa which sails every seven days between Valencia and Italy.
17-year-old Julen and his mother Charo have tested positive and are now quarantined with the whole family in a hotel in Valencia. “It’s a kidnapping,” the woman complains to 20Minutos newspaper. They have not been given options to return to their home in Catalonia to end the quarantine there. The conditions are bad, the room is not cleaned, the ventilation is not working properly and Julen is quite ill.
No corona measures
Meanwhile, the passengers denounce that the cruise ship had not taken any measures against the coronavirus. “Lots of hydroalcoholic gel everywhere, but little security or visibility into gatherings of too many people,” said Sergio, another passenger.
Sergio Asensio, 33, saw it when boarding. He had wanted to know the capacity of the boat beforehand because he “didn’t want to risk endangering his family”. According to the company, it would not exceed 50%. However, when Asensio saw the boat in the harbour, he immediately realised there were many more passengers. MSC has since confirmed that the capacity was ultimately 75%.
Meetings in all parts of the ship
The effects of this became clear when the 500-metre long boat left for Italy. There were large groups of people at the pool. In the evening it was too crowded when the dining room turned into a disco. The tables there were barely four inches apart and people were all masked. Also at the buffet, they were too close together. Sergio criticises that the spaces on the ship for young people were also full. Up to 100 teenagers gathered there, dancing and singing and without masks.
Sergio thought about cancelling the trip but would lose 70% of his fare. The company also did not allow disembarkation at any port other than where he embarked. Asking for a complaint form at reception, he was only given a ‘normal sheet of lined paper’ stating that the official ‘hoja de reclamación’ would still be in the office, as is required by Malta law.
20Minutos has attempted to contact MSC for their side of the story. But so far, the press department has not responded.
Confinement of the ship
Julen is 17 years old and is quarantined with his whole family in a hotel in Valencia. “From the moment we tested positive, we had to go to two rooms that are connected by a door that we are no longer allowed to leave. One for Julen and one for me, my husband and Julen’s brother,” says mother Charo.
Julen is not the only prisoner. The 7 or 10 children who were in close contact with him also stay in the rooms. Sergio doesn’t understand why not all passengers are tested.
Julen and his family were initially supposed to disembark in Barcelona. However, upon arrival in Valencia, the crew informed them the authorities had decided they should be quarantined for ten days at a hotel in Valencia.
“My husband is fully vaccinated and is negative, by law he can leave, he doesn’t have to quarantine. But at the hotel, they said no, that he should be locked up for 10 days. So my husband said he would go out. But they told him if he did, the police would be called. In any case, he won’t go out because he’s alone in a room with our other son,” says Charo, who is in a room with Julen.
“I have called the Ministry of Health, 112, the police, the Generalitat, and 112 in Catalonia … They tell us there is no way we can go home. I think it is more expensive to spend ten days here to have two rooms, full board, than to take us home by ambulance or something,” says Charo. “It’s a kidnapping”.
For his part, Sergio, along with other passengers, is going to file a complaint against MSC cruises. There are already several individual passenger complaints, but now they are preparing to file two more joint lawsuits.
Sergio says that when he left the ship, officers asked for papers from the crew, but the managers refused. This then led to a riot. In the end, it was Sergio who went to the police: “The Guardia Civil told me that they were surprised by the capacity problem. They had registered 2,300 passengers while the capacity of the ship with employees and passengers is about 5,700 passengers. With 75% of the capacity, it would be 4,300 passengers And I tell you that there were more than 4,000 passengers.”