The UK cruise industry is now well and truly making a comeback as the country reopens for international cruises. The announcement was released on Wednesday by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. The largest cruise operator in the country, P&O Cruises, has reacted along with the International Cruise Lines Association (CLIA).
UK Greenlights International Cruises
The UK government has given the green light for international cruises to restart. It was part of an announcement with the country waiving quarantine for fully vaccinated arrival from Europe and the USA starting from 4:00 AM on August 2, which allows families in different countries to come together for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Shapps said: “We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade – this is progress we can all enjoy.”
The Transport Secretary went on to say: “We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme, we’re able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US while further cementing ties with our European neighbours.”
International cruises can reopen in line with Public health England guidelines, and it comes after close monitoring of epidemiological evidence gained from the restart of domestic cruising since May 20, 2021. Cruise lines have proved that cruise ships can operate safely and keep everyone on board protected. There have been no major outbreaks on ships sailing in the UK, and any minor cases have been dealt with as procedure.
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The government has been working with the cruise industry to reopen international operations. They have signed a breakthrough memorandum of understanding (MOU) to help the cruise industry recover from the pandemic.
The International Cruise Lines Association (CLIA) has welcomed the news on international cruises. The organization reaffirmed that cruise line protocols go beyond any other travel sector operating today.
CLIA Managing Director for UK & Ireland, 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.
He continued saying: “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 onboard to visit international destinations.”
The largest cruise line in the UK, P&O Cruises, also reacted to the good news, and it comes as the cruise line has already restarted domestic cruises with the P&O Britannia cruise ship since the end of June.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “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 very special maiden voyage will leave next Saturday, August 7.
Ludlow went on to say: Our international cruise holidays on both ships are set to start from September 25 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 hoping for and we cannot wait to welcome you back on board.”
Currently, multiple cruise lines offer domestic cruises in the UK, including P&O, Marella Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises. MSC Virtuosa, operated by MSC Cruises, was the first ship to begin domestic sailings when she departed Southampton on May 20, 201.