Viking Cruises to Begin UK Domestic Sailings in May

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The UK is turning out to be the place to be this summer, as another cruise line announces voyages departing from the UK with British passengers this summer.

Viking Cruise Line has announced it will be debuting its newest ship, Viking Venus, from May this year in the UK.

Limited Operations For Now

Viking Cruise Line, one of Europe’s largest privately-owned cruise lines, announced Viking Venus would be operating an eight-day ocean itinerary called England’s Scenic Shores.

The vessel will sail roundtrip from Portsmouth, with departures on May 22, May 29, and June 5, 2021. The cruise line has limited operations to three voyages so far, available to UK residents only.

Viking Venus will be sailing the 8-day itinerary from Portsmouth, in the south of England, without any port days. The itinerary will be a sea-day-only experience for those lucky guests able to secure a spot on one of the three voyages.

Pre-registration for England’s Scenic Shores is currently open only to Viking’s loyal past guests; more details about the voyages will be released—and reservations will be available to all UK residents—in due course.

When the pandemic started, Viking was the first cruise line to stop operations. The UK Government recently indicated that it would allow domestic cruises to resume in May of 2021, which prompted today’s update about the official restart. Until May 31, 2021, all other Viking sailings remain canceled.

Viking Cruises Ship
Photo Credit: Ola Zawada /

UK Cruise Industry is Important

Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking, feels that the UK will prove to be an essential step towards a global recovery process for the travel industry:

“We welcome the UK Government’s support for the return of safe domestic cruises as an important component in the travel industry’s recovery. In recognition of this support, we have chosen to name our new ship, Viking Venus, in the UK on May 17.”

Viking is one of the first cruise lines to decide on short sailings in the UK for UK residents. Earlier P&O UK and Princess Cruises announced the same along with more recently, Cunard Line. Viking Cruise Line has been keeping its ships in a warm layup and manned throughout the past 12 months, according to Viking’s Chairman:

“We are in a position to restart operations quickly and to start sailing again in May because we have kept our ships crewed during warm layup throughout the past 12 months.”

Health and Safety Onboard

Viking is, for now, also not requiring guests to be vaccinated to sail. Instead, the line is counting on the strict policies it has implemented itself:

“We have been implementing our additional protocols, including daily quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests for our crew, for almost six months. With our new protocol enhancements in place, we believe there will be no safer way to travel the world than on a Viking voyage, and we look forward to welcoming UK guests back onboard very soon.”

Viking Ocean ships feature a full-scale laboratory where all guests and crew will receive daily saliva PCR tests. The Viking ships, which have always featured individual air handling units for every guest stateroom, have also been fitted with new air purification technology.

And additional health checks, sanitization, and physical distancing measures will provide further protection for Viking guests and crew at all points of the journey.

It looks then like Viking is ready for at least a few cruises in the UK. Whether these cruises will be extended to an entire season has not been disclosed by the cruise line; however, if the current situation continues as it has been doing, it seems likely Viking will be doing more cruises in the UK.

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