Cruise holidays: When will cruises start again? Latest Foreign Office advice for cruising

Scenic Eclipse captain discusses safety protocols on cruise ship

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Cruise holidays have been banned since March 2020, almost a year ago. The cruising industry suffered badly at the hands of the Covid crisis with many cruise ships transforming into virus-ridden, floating quarantines at the worst of the pandemic. Now, with the ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown unveiled, hope for the return of cruises is rising.

It was announced this week that international travel may provisionally return from May 17.

Does this mean that cruise holidays can return for the summer?

Well, the Government has yet to update its travel advice on cruising to the frustration of the industry and cruise lovers.

The lastest cruise ship guidance was released in January but shed no light on cruise ships’ comeback.

“The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office [FCDO] advises against cruise ship travel at this time,” states the ongoing advice.

“This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.”

Defining cruising, the FCDO explains: “Cruise ship travel means staying overnight for at least one night on a sea-going cruise ship with people from multiple households.

“Our advice against cruises applies to international travel on a ship that is exclusively for pleasure or recreation, providing overnight accommodation and other leisure facilities such as entertainment venues or swimming pools.

“Our advice does not include ferries or privately-rented boats.”

The FCDO adds that the guidance will change in time when it is safe for cruising to return, but no timeline is given.

“The government will continue to review its cruise ship travel advice based on the latest medical advice,” says the authority.

“If you have future cruise travel plans, contact your cruise line, travel operator, or the travel company you booked with, for further advice.”

The Foreign Office continued: “For information on cruises in UK waters contact the Department for Transport: [email protected]

“The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office continues to support the Department for Transport’s work with industry for the resumption of international cruise travel.”

Many are alarmed by the lack of progress.

Jane Archer, writing for The Telegraph yesterday, urged the Government to take action and claimed cruise ships were the safest place to be at the moment.

This is due to the extreme measures the cruise industry is taking to fight the deadly virus.

Crew are tested regularly and must quarantine before working with passengers.

Meanwhile, holidaymakers need to show proof of a negative Covid test to board and on some lines must prove they’ve been vaccinated before travel.

The lack of clarity means some cruise lines are still cancelling voyages but most are set to return in May at the time of writing.

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