Thursday 29 July 2021 11:22 am

Open waters: International cruises to welcome passengers again

International cruises will be allowed to restart next Monday after an extended break due to the coronavirus crisis.

Months after domestic cruises restarted, international cruise lines operating in EU, UK, and US waters are finally allowed to welcome passengers onboard at 4am on 2 August but many companies say this won’t be possible until later in the year.

The reopening of travel was described as “progress we can all enjoy,” by transport secretary Grant Shapps after he announced the news.

Restrictions on travellers arriving into the UK from the US or EU destinations eased earlier this week as fully vaccinated people arriving into UK ports will no longer have to quarantine.

Arrivals are however still required to take a pre-departure test and a PCR test on their second day back in the UK. Passenger locator forms will also remain mandatory.

Separate rules apply to anyone arriving from France. Due to the ongoing pandemic, passengers from France will need to quarantine for ten days after arrival and are required to take PCR tests on days two and eight.

The British Ports Association (BPA) said they were ‘disappointed’ to see people from France still needed to quarantine.

Richard Ballantyne, chief executive at BPA ensured cruises will be operating safely after many ships saw outbreaks of the virus in the last 16 months.

He said, “the successful restart of domestic cruise in England two months ago has demonstrated how ports, cruise lines, government and health officials have been able to work together to ensure the health and safety of passengers, crew and destinations are an absolute priority.”

Despite cruises given the go ahead many liners say it is unlikely they will actually set sail again on Monday.

P&O Cruises said many of their ships’ planned itineraries launch later in the year. The Southhampton-based company said the current travel traffic light system caused many itineraries for this summer and beyond to be cancelled.

Cunard cruise liner said they will sail in domestic waters on August 13 but begin international cruises in October, two months after todays announcement.

Travel industries were hit hardest by the pandemic, with all cruise ships docked for over a year to prevent the spread of coronavirus.