Cruise lines take ‘cautious approach’ as government eases rules

Cruise lines are assessing their health protocols in light of the government’s easing of social distancing requirements on domestic cruises.

Many Covid-19 rules have been relaxed in England on Monday (July 19) – dubbed ‘freedom day’ – but cruise operators will maintain a ‘cautious approach’.

In an update on Monday about domestic cruises, the government said: “Under step 4 of the roadmap, social distancing rules – two metres or one metre with additional mitigations – are lifted.

“Social distancing will only be required in limited circumstances such as at ports of entry for passengers between disembarkation and border control in order to manage the risk of variants of concern being transmitted between individuals.”

A spokesperson for trade body Clia UK & Ireland said: “UK cruise guests have already safely enjoyed a number of domestic sailings round Britain this summer.

“This successful domestic restart has been enabled by the wellbeing protocols that have been introduced across the cruise industry.

“While we will continue to assess our industry protocols, we believe that a cautious approach is appropriate as part of a gradual, phased resumption.

“As the effectiveness of our protocols has become apparent following domestic cruises, we now look forward to the UK government revisiting its advice on international cruise.”

Domestic cruises departing from and to UK ports have been allowed since May but the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) still advises against international cruise holidays “based on the latest public health medical advice”.

A statement from Celebrity Cruises about the changes on July 19 said: “Cruise lines are currently abiding by the framework agreement approved by the UK government to enable the restart of cruise. In the spirit of collective responsibility during this period of caution, the cruise industry will continue to adhere to the UK framework and enhanced protocols.

“Our cruise industry protocols go further than any other travel sector and provide for one of the most Covid-controlled environments allowing guests to sail with confidence. These protocols include measures such as requirements for face coverings, social distancing, shore excursions and testing.

“The protocols are in place to protect the health of guests, crew and also the communities in the destinations we visit.

“Our protocols are constantly reviewed while at the same time HM Government is revisiting the freedom to travel internationally, including an FCDO decision on international cruise.”

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