The UK’s Department of Transport has outlined how it sees the roadmap of the restart of cruises around the British Isles this summer. The cruise season is about to kick off in the middle of May and has already proven to be a massive success before any ships have even sailed.
A new advice page has now been set up to provide guidance and all the relative framework on resuming domestic and international cruises from the UK. This includes a step-by-step roadmap to reopen the cruise industry along with the full framework.
Most of the major cruise operators have already commissioned vessels to sail around the Islands, while many of the same operators have stated many voyages are already sold out. The page aims to help those who need more details about the situation, something that has been heavily missed on resuming cruises in the U.S.
UK Roadmap to Domestic Cruises
The UK government outlines several steps for cruises that encompass the government’s roadmap to re-open the country.
- Roadmap steps one and two – from 8 March do not allow any cruise activity in the country, so no domestic cruises and no international cruises.
- Roadmap step three will come into action no earlier than 17 May and states there will only be cruises allowed to sail from and to ports in the UK. Cruises are allowed to sail outside UK waters but can only make stops in the UK’s common Travel Area (Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, and Ireland).
- Roadmap step four – will start no earlier than 21 June. During step four, the government hopes the country has made enough steps in its vaccination process to remove all legal limits on social contact. This includes lifting capacity limits for domestic cruises.
The capacity limits, which will be enforced under Roadmap step three, state domestic cruises will only operate with up to 1,000 people or 50% capacity. The capacity limit does not include crew members but does mean that a ship like P&O’s Iona, which can carry more than 5000 passengers at total capacity, will only sail with 1000 passengers under step three.
The good news for the cruise lines is that if everything goes well and the government agrees to step four, the vessels will sail full capacity already in June. According to the government’s orders, the cruise lines can legally remove any social distancing measures or even the need for wearing masks.
The UK government published the roadmap to resume cruising on its government guidance pages. The framework that has been put together by the Uk’s task force can be read here for passengers, cruise ship operators, and crew members (links download pdf’s).
UK Roadmap to International Cruises
For now, the UK looks to be content to offer domestic cruises only. However, the country has said it intends to allow a resumption of international cruises alongside the broader opening of the UK to international travel. In other words, as soon as international travel re-opens, the cruise industry can open from the UK.
There are some conditions before this can happen. The UK government will restart international cruises alongside the wider restart of international travel, in line with a “traffic light” system. This traffic light system consists of a list of countries divided into risk factors:
- Red countries: High-risk countries (currently known as “red list”).
- Amber countries: Moderate-risk countries.
- Green countries: Low-risk countries.
This system will be evaluated by the government and subject to continued satisfactory evidence from the domestic restart and successful cruise operations elsewhere in the world. Another factor would be an agreement between the government and industry covering the cost and liabilities of repatriation.
It is looking positive for the UK and its restart of cruise operations, both domestic and international. The cruise industry will be pleased to work together in harmony with the UK government to create a safe but swift restart of cruising. Something other nations seem to be having some problems with.
Which Cruise Lines Will Sail the UK This summer?
The following cruise lines have indicated they will be cruising in the UK from May onwards, while we also include the ships the lines intend to sail with:
- Celebrity Cruises– Ship: Celebrity Silhouette
- Cunard Line – Ship: Queen Elizabeth
- Disney Cruise Line– Ship: Disney Magic
- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines– Ship: Borealis and Bolette
- Marella Cruises– Ship: Marella Explorer
- MSC Cruises– Ship: MSC Virtuosa
- P&O Cruises– Ship: Britannia and Iona
- Princess Cruises– Ship: Regal Princess and Sky Princess
- Royal Caribbean International– Ship: Anthem of the Seas
- Saga Cruises– Ship: Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure
- Viking Cruises– Ship: Viking Venus
- Virgin Voyages– Ship: Scarlet Lady