A 16-month ban on international cruises has been lifted, paving the way for sailings to restart from England.
The move was announced on Twitter by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, along with the lifting of quarantine for arrivals from the US and Europe.
It was also confirmed in a statement from the Department of Transport, which said: “Following the close monitoring of epidemiological evidence, gained through the restart of the domestic cruise industry earlier this year, the UK government has also confirmed the go ahead for international cruise sailings to restart from England in line with Public Health England guidance.
“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.”
It said the cruise industry and the Government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding ‘to help the industry build back from Covid-19 while protecting British nationals from future pandemic-related disruption’.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has also lifted its advice against international cruise travel.
CLIA UK and Ireland Managing Director Andy Harmer said this summer’s successful cruises around the UK had led the way. “The cruise industry has worked intensively during the last 18 months in collaboration with the Government, health authorities, ports, and other industry bodies to develop enhanced protocols that protect guests, crew, and the destinations we visit,” he added.
“The industry looks forward to welcoming guests back onboard to visit international destinations.”
CLIA said the cruise industry had agreed a number of protocols with the UK Government, including the requirement that all guests on international cruises be tested for COVID prior to boarding.
The news was immediately welcomed by Barrhead Travel President Jacqueline Dobson, who said: “The programme of domestic cruising in the UK this summer has been incredibly successful with the cruise lines, ports and associations working tirelessly to ensure they could provide a safe and welcoming onboard experience. It is good news that this has been recognised and can now be replicated for UK guests for itineraries further afield.
“Pre-pandemic, cruising was seeing significant growth in popularity; this was reflected in our bookings with over one third of our customers choosing to cruise. We have only seen demand for future cruising continue to grow with customers booking as far out as 2024. Itineraries have become more adventurous and cruise ships are even more luxurious and innovative, making for the perfect holiday combination.
“In addition, many holidaymakers have enjoyed their first taste of a cruise this summer by embarking on a domestic cruise. We anticipate this will enhance future demand as it has provided new-to-cruise customers with a flavour of what they can expect on typical cruise holiday.
“We now turn to the UK Government and urge them to continue to make progress with all areas of international travel including the widening of the Green List, consistencies in the Traffic Light system and reduction in testing costs.”