Updated Wednesday 23rd March 2021
Since the UK first went into lockdown in March 2020, cruises have been on hold with guests unable to return to the seas for almost a year. However, it has now been revealed that, in line with the reopening of domestic tourism and indoor hospitality, cruise lines look to be able to offer UK coastal cruises from May 2021. Keep reading to find out more.
When will domestic cruises return?
In line with the government’s roadmap, and as long as previous lockdown easing is successful, UK domestic cruises will be able to return from 17th May 2021.
News of the return of UK domestic cruises emerged after the announcement was made by Maritime Minister Robert Courts to a group of MPs during a virtual meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Maritime and Ports Group (APPMPG). A spokesperson for the Department of Transport later confirmed this to The Independent, saying that "the restart of domestic cruises in England will be aligned with the wider resumption of the domestic tourism and indoor hospitality sectors".
What are domestic cruises?
A domestic cruise is any cruise that sails to and from UK ports in UK waters. While international travel is still not permitted, this will allow guests to return to the seas and enjoy a summer holiday onboard some of their favourite ships. The move will also help cruise lines showcase their enhanced health and safety protocols and rebuild trust in the industry following on from the coronavirus pandemic.
Which cruise lines are offering UK coastal cruises?
There are currently several cruise lines offering UK Coastal cruises, including Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Cunard, Princess Cruises and Tradewind Voyages, with more expected to join them. Popular British cruise line P&O Cruises announced earlier this month that they would be cancelling international cruises through the summer, and instead replacing these with UK itineraries. You can pre-register your interest to be the first to find out about these new sailings and see here our up-to-date breakdown on the return to cruising.
Where will these UK cruises sail?
UK coastal cruises will depart from a variety of UK ports, including Southampton, Liverpool, Dover and Greenock, meaning you won't have to travel far to board your ship. You'll be able to embark on a range of itineraries, including the South coast of England, tours of Ireland or the Scottish Isles. Visit our UK Coastal cruises page to browse the fantastic deals on offer.
What health and safety measures will be in place onboard?
Guests will find enhanced health and safety measures onboard, including no self-service buffets, more frequent cleaning, health checks before boarding and one-way systems. To find out more, read our new cruise experience guide.