US cruise lines are not the only ones that have found themselves postponing cruises regularly. Cruise lines in the UK have been hard hit by the COVID pandemic.
Back in October, a return of cruising around the British Isles seemed an entirely plausible prospect. The development of a framework for a safe return to cruising, developed by the UK Chamber of Shipping, together with CLIA UK and Ireland, and the different cruise lines, would be the beginning of a road to a restart of cruising.
With the country on lockdown, severe travel restrictions in place, and many people’s general well-being in danger, another cruise line has decided to postpone cruises until the start of summer. Not only that, SAGA Cruises is the first cruise line to introduce a mandatory vaccination requirement 14 days before sailing.
SAGA Cruises is a UK based cruise line that caters exclusively to guests over 50 years of age. The company has only two ships, the 2019 & 2020 built, 58.000GT Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure.
Although the line has taken a considerable amount of measures to protect guests onboard, the line sees no way but to postpone cruises further. This means that the Spirit of Discovery will now sail on June 2, 2021, and the Spirit of Adventure will sail on her maiden voyage on May 4, 2021.
Spirit of Discovery’s first cruise was supposed to be on April 3, 2021, which means the ship has been postponed by an additional two months. For the Spirit of Adventure, her maiden voyage will be in the Baltic out of Dover, UK.
Also Read: Why Are Cruises Still Being Canceled?
SAGA Cruises is the first cruise line worldwide that has made vaccinations a requirement for cruising. Any guests who want to sail onboard one of the two vessels will need to show the cruise line proof they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before the voyage.
SAGA Cruises has said it will be strict about the vaccination requirements:
- Any guest booked for a cruise but has not yet received the vaccine will be reimbursed or offered a later voyage.
- Guests that have been given a vaccine that requires two shots will need to have had both 14 days before sailing.
- If one guest in a cruise party is not vaccinated, guests will be allowed to rebook for a later date or be reimbursed.
- Guests will be required to bring the vaccination document or evidence with them as proof at the time of boarding.
- Guests that are exempt from the vaccine for whatever reason will not be allowed to cruise.
As the cruise line’s guest profile is a higher risk group, it will likely be welcomed by the line’s many regular cruisers. Whether more cruise lines will follow the example remains to be seen.
Outside of the vaccination requirements, the line has also become the first operator to receive the highest possible standard of health and safety protocols from Lloyd’s Register.
UK Cruise Lines Have Been Pushing Back Restart Dates
The UK based cruise lines have been steadily pushing back their restart dates. As the second-largest cruise market globally, the pandemic effects have crippled an entire industry.
For now, the restart dates for UK based cruise lines are as follows:
- P&O Cruises UK: April 2021
- Cunard: Queen Victoria to resume on May 17, 2021, Queen Mary 2 to resume on June 4, 2021, and Queen Elizabeth to resume on June 14, 2021
- SAGA Cruises: Spirit of Adventure to resume on May 4, 2021, Spirit of Discovery to resume on June 2, 2021
- Marella Cruises: European operations until March 31, 2021. The cruise line has also delayed the return of all longer sailings until April 30, 2021.
- Fred Olsen Cruise Line: Borealis to resume on May 22, 2021, Bolette to resume on May 29, 2021, Balmoral to resume on June 9, 2021 and Braemar to resume on Spring 2022
If you are looking for information on the tentative restart dates for cruise lines worldwide, this information can be found here: When Will Each Cruise Line Resume Sailings Again?
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