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International cruise ship travel advice to be lifted

Cruise, Wave

The advice against international cruise ship travel from England is to be lifted from 2 August.

The move, confirmed today (28 July) by transport secretary Grant Shapps, has been described as “very good news” for the sector, which in recent months has seen domestic cruises restart.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has advised against international cruises since July last year.

A statement from the Department for Transport stated: “Following the close monitoring of epidemiological evidence, gained through the restart of the domestic cruise industry earlier this year, the UK government has also confirmed the go ahead for international cruise sailings to restart from England in line with Public Health England guidance.

“International cruise travel advice will be amended to encourage travellers to understand the risks associated with cruise travel and take personal responsibility for their own safety abroad.”

Speaking last week, Saga Travel chief executive Nick Stace told the BBC Today programme he was confident that restrictions would be eased.

In an updated statement, Stace commented: “The entire cruise industry has been working closely with Government to reach this point and it is a huge boost to receive the news that we will once again be able to welcome guests on non-domestic voyages.”

CLIA UK & Ireland MD Andy Harmer said: “The decision to allow the restart of international cruise is very good news for the industry. The success of this summer’s round Britain cruises has led the way.

“The cruise industry has worked intensively 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.”

‘A new start’ for cruise

Cruise line bosses welcomed the news, with Carnival UK president Simon Palethorpe stating it “marks the beginning of a new start”.

Palethorpe added: “We are delighted that the work done by the cruise industry over the past 18 months has been recognised and we are now able to resume international cruising. Whilst our guests are so pleased to be back on board for the current series of UK coastal cruises there is certainly demand to travel abroad with us, knowing they have the reassurance of our health protocols.

“It has been an exceptionally difficult and challenging time for the global cruise industry but this news marks the beginning of a new start and one which will be welcomed by our crew, our guests and the UK economy.”

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow added: “We are absolutely delighted with today’s announcement from the UK government that international cruising can resume from the UK. Britannia has been sailing UK coastal cruises since the end of June and Iona’s maiden voyage on 7 August.

“Our international cruise holidays on both ships are set to start from 25 September with Britannia sailing to the Mediterranean and Iona to Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands. This is the news we have been working towards and cannot wait to welcome you back on board.”

Princess Cruises UK & Europe vice-president Tony Roberts echoed these views, tweeting that the decision to remove the FCDO’s advice against international cruising “is very welcome news”.

“From this Saturday (31 July), Princess Cruises will have restarted domestic sailings in the UK, beginning with Regal Princess. Sky Princess will follow on 30 August. We look forward to resuming our international cruises from the UK on Regal Princess and Sky Princess from the end of September, with a total of eight voyages sailing roundtrip Southampton.”

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