Foreign Office updates advice to end cruise ban, which has been in place since July 2020
International cruise has restarted after the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office changed its advice against “cruise ship travel” that has been in place since July 2020.
A statement from the Department for Transport said: “Following the close monitoring of epidemiological evidence, gained through the restart of the domestic cruise industry earlier this year, the UK government has also confirmed the go ahead for international cruise sailings to restart from England in line with Public Health England guidance.
“International cruise travel advice will be amended to encourage travellers to understand the risks associated with cruise travel and take personal responsibility for their own safety abroad.”
An ABTA spokesperson said: “ABTA welcomes the announcement that international cruising can restart from England, which follows the successful operation of a number of domestic cruises around the UK over recent weeks, and we’re glad the government has produced updated guidance to assist passengers and the industry. We hope each of the devolved nations will adopt the same approach.
“It’s also good to see the government taking positive steps to open up international travel with the US and the EU, and we hope this will be the first step to reciprocal arrangements that will help the travel industry to get back on its feet.
“However, the industry is not out of the woods and there is more that needs to be done to support travel businesses through to recovery. We know the sector is facing a more gradual relaxation of restrictions than the domestic economy, and we need to see a tailored package of support measures to recognise that, including ongoing furlough and income support schemes, full business rates relief and consideration of tailored grants schemes.”
Spirit of Adventure will embark on a Taste of the Continent cruise on October 5, marking the first time a Saga ship has returned to international waters since the beginning of the global pandemic in 2020. The five-day itinerary will sail from Dover before taking in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Zeebrugge.
Nick Stace, CEO of Saga Travel, said: “We are pleased that the government has confirmed that restrictions will lift on international cruising. The entire cruise industry has been working closely with government to reach this point and it is a huge boost to receive the news that we will once again be able to welcome guests on non-domestic voyages.
“Ensuring the safety of our guests and crew is our number one priority and we’ve worked tirelessly to create the safest possible environment on board our ships. Our customers have been eagerly awaiting certainty from government so they can plan their cruises beyond UK shores and the news will give them the clarity they need to do that.”
Andy Harmer, Clia managing director for UK & Ireland, said: “The decision to allow the restart of international cruise is very good news for the industry. The success of this summer’s round Britain cruises has led the way.
“The cruise industry has worked intensively during the last 18 months in collaboration with the Government, health authorities, ports, and other industry bodies to develop enhanced protocols that protect guests, crew, and the destinations we visit. The industry looks forward to welcoming guests back onboard to visit international destinations.”
As cruise restarts, work resumes on new builds and MSC, Saga and Silversea take delivery of new vessels
Construction work has started on P&O Cruises’ second Excel class ship, Arvia, in Germany.
The floating engine room (FERU) – the first component of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered ship – has arrived in the shed where Arvia will be constructed by Neptun Werft. When complete, it will weigh around 12,000 tons, and will be 140m long and 42m wide. Delivery is scheduled for December 2022.
Arvia, which means ‘from the seashore’, is set to feature a high ropes experience named Altitude Skywalk, plus Altitude Minigolf, a swim-up bar and a new plant and fish-led restaurant.
Viking Cruises’ Polaris, the line’s second expedition ship, has been floated out. The 387-guest vessel made its first contact with the water last month at Fincantieri’s VARD shipyard in Søviknes, Norway. It was then moved to an outfitting dock for further construction and interior build-out.
MSC Cruises took delivery of its new flagship MSC Seashore – the largest cruise ship to be built in Italy.
At 339m, MSC Seashore will also be the longest vessel in MSC’s fleet. The ship is built to carry a weight up to 169,400 tonnes, accommodating 5,632 guests and 1,648 crew members. The new ship, which brings the MSC fleet total to 18, features advanced environmental technologies, continuing the company’s commitment to running more sustainably.
Saga has launched its second boutique ship, Spirit of Adventure. The ship was named with a traditional bottle smashing ceremony by Commodore Inga J Kennedy, the recently retired head of the Royal Navy Medical Service, ahead of its inaugural round-Britain voyage from Tilbury on July 26. The ship was due to take to the water last year after being handed over by the shipbuilder in September 2020, but it remained anchored due to Covid-19.
Silversea, part of the Royal Caribbean Cruises group, also launched its latest ship Silver Moon, which was officially named during an evening ceremony in Piraeus, near Athens. The naming of the ship has marked a milestone in the company’s return to global sailing and Silver Moon is the first ultra-luxury ship from the fleet to set sail following the pandemic.