Most cruise lines have spent more than a year docked amid ongoing travel restrictions. However, with lockdown gradually being relaxed in the UK, many big-name cruise firms have turned their attention to Ocean-based staycations around the British Isles.
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line has recently revealed new protocols for its previously announced UK sailings.
The cruise line will resume sailing with a series of cruises from Tilbury in Essex, Liverpool, Southampton and Newcastle, between July and September.
The cruises will span two, three and four-night trips around the UK.
In its latest update, Disney confirmed all adults over the age of 18 must have been fully vaccinated before travelling.
In a message on its website the cruise line states: “In order to sail, guests 18 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, as defined by the National Health Service (NHS).
“The NHS currently defines ‘fully vaccinated’ as seven days after the final dose. Disney Cruise Line will contact guests prior to sailing with instructions on how to show proof of this vaccination status.”
Other measures expected to be in place include a negative COVID-19 test ahead of boarding, rapid antigen testing, health screenings and the use of face coverings.
Celebrity Cruises is due to set sail from Southampton on a series of six to eight-night itineraries around the UK coastline.
The cruises will begin departing from July.
All guests and crew must be fully vaccinated before boarding.
Those under 18 will be required to provide a negative PCR test result.
In a statement on its website, Celebrity Cruises explained: “We’ve partnered with medical and scientific advisors from our Healthy Sail Panel, our Global Head of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer; and local health and government authorities to guide us in the development of our protocols.
“These measures include reduced capacities, enhanced cleaning and sanitisation and physical distancing.
“Celebrity Cruises will be one of the first to offer fully vaccinated sailings, where guests age 18 and over will be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“And we’re working with local health authorities in our homeport counties to ensure guests meet current inbound travel requirements.”
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Saga Cruises was one of the first lines to announce UK sailings with guests having to be fully vaccinated.
Cruises will span June until September.
Departing from Tilbury, Spirit of Adventure will call at Newcastle, the Isle of Man, Edinburgh, Kirkwall, Belfast and Bristol.
Spirit of Discovery sail throughout July and August, including a 14-night Great British Isles Adventure spanning Falmouth, Holyhead, Greenock, Ullapool and more.
MSC Cruises is due to depart on a series of three and four-night sailings departing from Southampton and calling at Portland.
The ship will then offer longer see-day itineraries between June and September.
The week-long trips will span Portland, Belfast, Liverpool and Greenock.
MSC is also offering onshore excursions.
So far the cruise line has not issued a requirement for passengers to be vaccinated.
However, they will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test upon boarding.
On its website, MSC Cruises explains: “For MSC Virtuosa’ sailings around the British Isles in the upcoming months, we will welcome only UK residents of all ages, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.
“All unvaccinated or partially vaccinated guests (i.e did not receive the full set of vaccine shots) will need to take a lateral flow (antigen) or PCR (molecular) swab test within 72 hours prior to the ship’s departure.
“Proof of a negative test result will be requested at the terminal and we will accept evidence such as an email, SMS or a printed document.
“The test is not required for fully vaccinated (any proof of vaccination needed) or under two years old guests.
“However, as per our stringent MSC Health and Safety protocol, all guests both vaccinated and unvaccinated will need to undergo some Health and COVID 19 screenings including a COVID-19 swab test, a health questionnaire and a contactless temperature check, before boarding the ship.”
Cunard Cruises is running a series of three to 12-night coastal voyages.
The journeys will operate between July and October and will span the Jurassic Coast, Land’s End, the Isle of Arran, Mull of Kintyre and Sound of Mull.
Along the way, on some ships, there will be port stops including Liverpool, Greenock, Invergordon, Belfast, Newcastle and Holyhead.
There will also be three cruises that will chase the sun, and sail to wherever the weather is brightest at that time.
“With the UK Government confirming that domestic travel is close on the horizon, we are introducing a series of exciting, shorter duration holidays for British residents looking for the perfect staycation in Cunard luxury this summer,” said Simon Palethorpe, president of Cunard.
“These will be sailings from Southampton, for UK residents, around the UK and will make the very most of the summer sunshine.”
All guests and crew are required to be fully vaccinated before boarding.
Virgin Voyages is due to depart from the UK on a series of domestic sailings for Britons.
The ships will sail from Portsmouth and all Uk residents will be welcomed onboard the staycation-at-sea cruises.
Journeys will span two, three and four-night itineraries onboard Scarlet Lady.
The cruise line states all “sailors” must be vaccinated against Covid.
“After more than a year of waiting and a major emphasis on a safe return, we’re ecstatic to announce these new sailings and bring Sailors onboard to experience what it’s like to set sail the Virgin Way,” said Tom McAlpin, CEO and President of Virgin Voyages.
“We look at our UK summer voyages as a homecoming to pay homage to our British roots, and what an excellent way to kick-off our sailing season before heading back to PortMiami.”
P&O Cruises has launched an array of UK itineraries for the summer.
Britannia will offer three and four-night breaks and one six-night holiday running from June 27, 2021, through to September 19, 2021.
Iona offers seven-night itineraries running from August 7, 2021, to September 18, 2021. Prices start from £449 per person for a three-night break on Britannia. Iona’s seven-night maiden voyage starts from £1,199 per person.
Britons hoping to travel will need to be able to prove they have received their COVID-19 vaccination. Travel insurance will also be mandatory.
“At the moment we are stipulating that all guests of all ages must be vaccinated to come onboard,” clarified P&O President Paul Ludlow.
Fred. Olsen has announced plans for 11 domestic cruises in July and August.
The sailings, onboard Borealis and Bolette, will sail from Dover and Liverpool.
Trips range from a four-night non-stop cruise around Scotland to a five-night Touring Scenic British Isles trip which will dock in Belfast and Falmouth.
Other itineraries include the Shetlands, Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly.
The cruise line has not yet decided whether or not all passengers will need to be vaccinated, and is currently “investigating ways to vaccinate crew”.
“By the time we resume sailing in July, we know that a large proportion of UK adults will have received their vaccinations,” Fred. Olsen’s website states.
“The vaccine is a big advancement for the travel industry, but it must be considered as part of a multi-layered approach.
“We are in the process of developing our Safe Sailing Charter to include a number of measures, which also includes testing, social distancing and the wearing of face masks.”
Marella Cruises has confirmed it will launch UK sailings this summer.
Marella Explorer will depart from Southampton in June.
It will sail via three ports of call including Belfast, Dublin and Liverpool.
Marella Explorer 2 will offer departures from Newcastle in July.
All adults aged 18 and over will be required to have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with their last vaccine taken at least seven days before departure.
Under-18s will be asked to have a lateral flow test. Infants under the age of two will not be able to sail as they are exempt from testing.
All guests must also provide a negative lateral flow test before boarding.
Chris Hackney, managing director of Cruise TUI UK and Ireland, said: “After pausing our operations for more than year, we are delighted to announce our UK summer programme and welcome our wonderful customers back onboard our ships.
“The safety and well-being of both our crew and passengers remains our priority, which is why we have vaccination and testing protocols for all sailings from UK ports this summer.”
Viking Cruises has launched an array of UK itineraries departing from Portsmouth.
Cruises will sail five eight-day “England’s Scenic Shores” journeys.
The cruises will sail throughout May and June, spanning Liverpool., the Isle of Scilly, Falmouth, and Portland.
Passengers will be required to undergo a health check at embarkation and take a PCR test.