The disclosure came at a virtual meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Maritime and Ports Group held Monday and is the earliest date for the lifting of travel restrictions for holidaymakers in the government’s roadmap for easing England out of lockdown.
'We strongly welcome the announcement that cruise will be included alongside the restart of other domestic tourism in the UK. The industry has been working with the government over the last year on health protocols which put the safety of our passengers and crew first,' a joint CLIA UK & Ireland/Chamber of Shipping statement said.
Protocols successfully tested elsewhere
Many of these protocols have already been tested successfully where cruises have been able operate elsewhere in Europe, the statement added.
‘The industry has long planned a phased restart for cruise, with domestic cruises representing the first stage of this plan,' said Any Harmer, director, CLIA UK & Ireland. 'We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the government, including through the Global Travel Taskforce in order to ensure the safe restart of international cruise in time for the summer season.'
‘This is applicable to England and discussions with the devolved administrations are continuing. Naturally, we welcome this news as the vital first step on the road to a safe resumption of cruise operations in the UK,’ CruiseBritain commented.
P&O and Princess
P&O Cruises announced a series of short coastal sailings and weeklong cruises in the UK this summer as has Princess for UK travelllers. But asked if cruise lines intending to operate ex-UK cruises are now in a position to bring those sailings forward to start on May 17, Harmer told Seatrade Cruise News: ‘We are continuing to discuss restart plans with the relevant authorities.’
For his part, Nick Stace, CEO of Saga Travel, also welcomed what he called 'an important milestone in the resumption of cruise operations, albeit with some restrictions at first.'