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The surreal scene of cruises in Europe

A photographer captured life aboard the MSC Grandiosa before cruising shut down again.

The main pool of the MSC Grandiosa cruise ship, off the coast of Valletta, Malta, in October. (Davide Bertuccio)

While cruising in the United States is still on hold, ships returned to the Mediterranean Sea in August. The limited restart came with new safety protocols, such as mandatory testing for crew and passengers, reduced capacity and masking in most public spaces. But cruise lines were quickly forced to cut back again in October as cases rose in Europe and eventually paused altogether in December.

Photographer Davide Bertuccio was aboard the MSC Grandiosa during the fall and captured the surreal scene as cruise passengers danced, swam and lounged in the sun.

Passengers are required to wear a mask and keep a safe distance while dancing in port in Civitavecchia, Italy, on Oct. 5. (Davide Bertuccio)

A crew member sprays sanitizer on lounge chairs. (Davide Bertuccio)

The ship's water park closed every two hours to be sanitized. (Davide Bertuccio)

Passengers traveling together were allowed to move their lounge chairs closer together; other chairs were positioned at a distance. (Davide Bertuccio)

Passengers prepare for a gala evening in Palermo, Italy, on Oct. 7. (Davide Bertuccio)

Recreational activities are limited and passengers, in port in Civitavecchia, Italy, must stand a distance, indicated by stickers on the deck. (Davide Bertuccio)

A passenger lounges by the pool. (Davide Bertuccio)

Guests bowl onboard the MCG Grandiosa while in port in Palermo, Italy, on Dec. 7. (Davide Bertuccio)

Guests visit one of the many pools on the ship in October. (Davide Bertuccio)

Passengers take a dance lesson on board on Dec. 4. (Davide Bertuccio)

The ship's main pool is illuminated at night. (Davide Bertuccio)

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Anonymous neighbors and rooftop views: Three photographers’ dispatches from isolation

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