UK Foreign Office Makes U-Turn on Cruise Ship Travel

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The UK Foreign Office has made a U-turn on its cruise advice just days after advising against all cruise ship travel for British nationals.

Advice on UK Cruises Changes Again

Knowing when we can go cruising again is getting confusing due to constantly changing guidance from different governments, developing travel restrictions, and port closures. We posted last week of the UK Foreign Office updating its advice against cruise ship travel for all British nationals, but since then, the wording has changed so as not to impact all cruising.

The advice has moved from all types of cruises to just mainly focusing on international cruises from the UK. It keeps the doors open to river cruises and cruises just in the UK, such as British Isle itineraries. The Foreign Office states in its advisory: “Cruise ship travel means staying overnight for at least 1 night on a sea-going cruise ship with people from multiple households.”

Ben Cordwell, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the FCO’s announcement:

“The FCO’s latest announcement is a ‘U-Turn’ on the statement released last week, advising against travel on all types of cruises. Although, it is of course positive news for river cruises and cruise lines operating solely within the UK, weak, unclear communication will do little to alleviate the concerns of travelers.

“According to GlobalData’s Coronavirus Recovery Survey, 78% of Brits are extremely or quite concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic. It is extremely likely that a large portion of the general public will take government advice very seriously post-COVID-19. However, the FCO’s latest announcement contradicting what was said only a week ago will create confusion for travelers and could reduce the number of passengers cruise companies can attract.

“On a positive note, it does at least mean river cruise companies within the UK can be up and running soon. This will help to alleviate some of the financial burden being put on river cruise companies, greatly improving their chances of long-term survival.”

Cruisers don’t really have a choice for now as cruise lines in the UK have suspended operations. P&O Cruises, which is the largest cruise line in the UK, has already suspended cruises through October 15, 2020, and even then it could be extended again.

Also Read: CDC Extends No Sail Order for Cruise Ships Through September

At the moment, cruise lines are working with health authorities and guidance from Public Health England on implementing new health procedures for keeping guests and crew safe when cruises resume.

Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks /

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