Saga Cruises, the first cruise line in the world to announce vaccine requirements for all guests, has now extended its suspension on operations. With a roadmap on easing the UK lockdown and plans on reopening international travel, many cruise lines that operate from the country are adjusting plans, including Saga.
SAGA Cruises Extends Suspension
The situation remains very fluid in the UK on resuming cruise operations. Even though the situation in the country looks positive thanks to the vaccine rollout, easing the lockdown rules will be a slow process.
As a result, many UK-based cruise lines are now changing plans and aim to resume operations later in the summer. Saga has followed by extending its suspension for its two cruise ships, Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery.
The government did announce that the earliest date for international travel to start opening up would be May 17, 2021. However, social distancing rules are to be relaxed after June 21, 2021, so the cruise line is aiming for that.
This now means that Spirit of Adventure’s planned May 4, 2021, inaugural sailings are delayed. The new date for the new ship’s first guest voyage will be July 26, 2021. Spirit of Discovery will also be delayed until June 27, 2021.
Saga Cruises is contacting impacting guests and is transferring those on the original inaugural sailings to the new date. Over the next few days, guests will be provided with their options of compensation.
Travel Roadmap in the UK
On March 2, The Secretary of State Grant Shapps chaired the first meeting of the new Global Travel Taskforce to discuss plans on re-opening international travel safely.
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said:
The UK’s leading vaccine rollout has created a wave of optimism and, as a result, the Global Travel Taskforce is charged with exploring safe and secure ways to restart international travel when the time is right.
By planning carefully considered steps, we will protect the excellent progress made through our vaccine and advanced testing programme, whilst ensuring we are ready to kick-start our travel sector when current travel restrictions can be lifted.
The task force is looking at several measures to open things up with a new risk-based framework. A report of the new plan is set to be submitted to the UK prime minister in April, which will help the government set out a new plan for international travel by May 17, 2021.
This is good news for the cruise industry as there will be a new set plan in place. More set in stone scheduled can take place and confidence across the hard-hit industry. P&O Cruises has already cancelled its regular cruises and will offer UK-only sailings. Princess Cruises has also made similar changes by offering shorter options yet to be detailed.
Saga Cruises became the first cruise line in the world to announce a vaccine mandate for all guests. When the cruise line does finally resume operations guests will need to provide proof that they have been vaccinated 14 days before sailing.