Holidays: UK domestic cruises 'could restart in May'

By Caroline Davies
Transport correspondent, BBC News

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Image source, Getty Images

Domestic cruises in the UK could resume from 17 May, according to the maritime minister.

The All Party Parliamentary Maritime and Ports Group said that Robert Courts MP made the announcement in a meeting on Monday.

Under the current "roadmap" for easing lockdown restrictions, 17 May is the earliest date which could see foreign and domestic holidays resume.

The firm P&O Cruises said it was "delighted" by the acknowledgement.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's "roadmap" says that indoor dining, hostels, hotels and B&Bs could open in England from 17 May, depending on factors such as the prevalence of coronavirus and how the vaccination rollout is going.

International travel could also resume at that date.

A statement from the Department for Transport said that restarting domestic cruising in England "will be aligned with the wider resumption of the domestic tourism and indoor hospitality sectors".

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: "We are delighted that the government has acknowledged that UK domestic cruise holidays can begin from 17 May.

"While it will take some weeks after this date for us to restart our operations, we are very much looking forward to welcoming guests on board this summer".

Mr Ludlow said that further details on ships, itineraries and dates for domestic cruise holidays will be announced by the firm later this month.

Media caption,
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"We strongly welcome the announcement that cruise will be included alongside the restart of other domestic tourism in the UK," the UK Chamber of Shipping and Cruise Lines International Association said in a joint statement.

"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. Many of these protocols have already been tested successfully where cruise has been able to operate elsewhere in Europe."

Some cruise lines have, however, cancelled international sailings for the summer.

P&O Cruises recently announced it would extend its ban on international holiday voyages through until the end of September, while Princess Cruises has also said it was looking into launching domestic cruise trips on its Regal Princess and Sky Princess ships "departing in late summer".