Cruise getaways are back on! No10 gives green light for voyages to restart from August (if Covid hasn’t put you off them!)
- Sources said passengers would be able to take cruises that start or end abroad
- Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said they could restart from August 2
- Industry leaders heralded today’s announcement as ‘very good news’ for cruises
Cruise getaways are back on the cards from next month, ministers revealed today.
No10 has given Britons the green light to again board ships bound for or returning from ports outside the UK.
It is recommended that all passengers are double-vaccinated, and most operators will not allow people on to ships unless they have got both doses.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said international cruises would be allowed to re-start from August 2.
The cruise industry has been linked to a string of Covid outbreaks since the pandemic began.
One cluster on the Diamond Princess at the start of the pandemic led to the ship being quarantined off the coast of Japan for weeks.
Cruise ships have been allowed to take passengers on around-Britain tours so far this year, but these have also sparked Covid cases.
A ‘small number’ of crew members tested positive for the virus on a ship moored off the Dorset coast at the start of this month. It was a fortnight before the ship was due to set off.
The Department for Transport said ministers had decided to allow foreign cruises to resume after reviewing ‘epidemiological evidence’ from domestic trips.
Guidance reads: ‘International cruise ship travel means staying overnight for at least one night on a sea-going cruise ship with people from multiple households, calling or ending at ports outside of the UK.’
It adds that ahead of booking cruises passengers should consider their own risk, especially if they are at high risk from the virus.
It warns access to healthcare may be limited on ships and that, if there is an outbreak, they may be asked to quarantine on board.
The managing director of the Cruise Lines International Association, Andy Harmer, said today’s announcement was ‘very good news’.
‘The decision to allow the restart of international cruises is very good news for the industry,’ he said. ‘The success of this summer’s around-Britain cruises has led the way.’
He added: ‘The cruise industry has worked tirelessly during the last 18 months in collaboration with the Government, health authorities, ports and other industry bodies to develop enhanced protocols that protect guests, crew, and the destinations we visit.
‘The industry looks forward to welcoming guests back on board to visit international destinations.’
Cruise lines have been offering trips around the UK this year requiring adult guests to be fully vaccinated and children to show proof of a negative test.
But this has not curbed outbreaks after a ‘small number’ of cases were reported in crew members on the Queen Elizabeth ship while it was moored in Dorset.
Its operator, Cunard, said the cluster at the start of this month left it with no choice but to suspend cruises planned for the ship until August 13.
It had been due to take its first load of paying passengers this year from Cornwall to Southampton on July 19, during England’s Freedom Day.