This follows the close monitoring of epidemiological evidence from the restart of domestic cruises this summer.
Fully vaccinated travellers
The announcement was coupled with news that anyone fully vaccinated against COVID-19 arriving from 'amber' countries in Europe (EU member states, European Free Trade Association countries and Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City) and from the US will not have to quarantine when entering England.
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, the government said.
To further support the safe restart of international cruise travel, the government and cruise industry signed a memorandum of understanding to help the industry build back from COVID-19 while protecting British nationals from future pandemic-related disruption.
This is 'very good news for the industry,' said Andy Harmer, managing director, CLIA UK & Ireland. 'The success of this summer's 'round Britain cruises has led the way.'
Tony Roberts, VP Princess Cruises UK & Europe, noted Regal Princess will begin domestic sailings July 31. 'We look forward to resuming our international cruises from the UK on Regal Princess and Sky Princess from the end of September, with a total of eight voyages sailing round-trip Southampton,' he said.
'As always, the safety and well-being of our crew, guests and destinations we visit remain our top priority. Our vaccination and testing policies will remain in place for these cruises and will be reviewed on a regular basis as the global situation continues to evolve.'
'A huge boost'
Nick Stace, CEO of Saga Travel, said 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.
‘... Our customers have been eagerly awaiting certainty from government so they can plan their cruises beyond UK shores and today’s news will give them the clarity they need to do that.’
Arrivals from 'amber' countries, though fully vaccinated, will still be required to complete a pre-departure test before arrival at England, alongside a PCR test on or before day 2 after arrival. Separate rules will continue to apply for those arriving from France. Those vaccinated in the US will also need to provide proof of US residency. Passengers from all countries will need to complete a passenger locator form.
A number of non-UK based lines have ships scheduled to sail domestic itineraries in the coming weeks and months carrying just UK residents.
Americans cruising from the UK?
Princess Cruises said US residents won’t be able to travel on its UK cruises from July 31 to Sept. 28 as these remain available to UK and Common Travel Area residents only. However, Americans will be able to travel on international cruises that depart Southampton from late September.
Virgin Voyages, whose Scarlet Lady is set for domestic sailings from Portsmouth in August, said it is still assessing the UK changes.
Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International said their UK coastal sailings remain limited to UK passengers for now.
Update added information from Disney and Royal Caribbean