International cruises from England are set to get the go-ahead after more than a year.
The transport secretary announced that the UK government was “able to confirm the restart of international cruises and flexible testing programmes to help key workers and drive our economic recovery”.
Grant Shapps said: “Whether you’re a family or a business, this is progress we can all enjoy.”
The Department for Transport (DfT) stated that international cruise sailings could 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,” said the DfT.
To further support the safe restart of international cruise travel, the government and cruise industry have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help the industry build back from Covid-19 while protecting British nationals from future pandemic-related disruption.
The Foreign Office (FCDO) has had a blanket advisory against cruising abroad in place for 16 months, since March 2020.
The previous advice read: “The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises against cruise ship travel at this time. This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.
“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.”
However, this advisory has now been removed for cruises from England; it remains unclear at what point the same might apply to the other devolved nations of the United Kingdom.
Domestic cruises sailing around the UK became possible again from 17 May.
P&O Cruises launched a series of three- and four-night “voyages to nowhere” – with no ports of call – at the end of June. Instead, the company announced the captain would try to set a course for sunny weather.
Only fully vaccinated travellers were allowed to book onto the sailings.
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