Cruises: Expert hopeful for 'July' return of holidays
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Cruise holidays could soon be back on the cards for holiday-starved Britons. A total of 2.2 million people undertook cruise travel which is an increase of 63 percent compared to 2009. International sea passenger numbers decreased by five percent in 2019, dropping to hit 20.7m.
England began taking steps out of lockdown this week with all primary and secondary schools reopening and recreation being added to the list of reasons you are permitted to leave your home.
Holidays internationally are currently banned except for those travelling for one of the accepted reasons.
At the beginning of the Covid pandemic, the pandemic began to spread to a number of cruise ships.
The British-registered Diamond Princess was the first cruise ship to register a major outbreak onboard and was quarantined on February 4, 2020, for about a month.
More than 700 people contracted COVID-19 and 14 people died.
When can you go on a cruise holiday?
The Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all cruise ship travel now.
The guidance reads: “This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.
“Cruise ship travel means staying overnight for at least one night on a sea-going cruise ship with people from multiple households.
“Our advice against cruises applies to international travel on a ship that is exclusively for pleasure or recreation, providing overnight accommodation and other leisure facilities such as entertainment venues or swimming pools.
“Our advice does not include ferries or privately-rented boats.”
Cruises in UK waters can return on May 17 according to the maritime minister.
Speaking at a virtual meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Maritime and Group (APPMPG), Robert Courts said organising domestic voyages is currently being worked on.
He added the earliest sailing between English ports will be permitted will be May 17.
The move would restore confidence in the cruise industry, Mr Courts said.
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Cruise travel has been banned since March 2020.
However, cruise travel was relaxed in June, enabling river cruises, although sea-going voyages were still banned.
Following the meeting, a Department for Transport spokesman told the Telegraph: “We are committed to restarting cruise travel when it is safe to do so, and we are working closely with the sector to prepare for a safe and successful restart.
“The restart of domestic cruises in England will be aligned with the wider resumption of the domestic tourism and indoor hospitality sectors.”
A task force headed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is due to publish a report on overseas holidays on April 12.
At this time, the Government is expected to reveal if overseas holidays will be permitted to resume for people in England from May 17.
Cruise liner companies P&O Cruises and Princess have revealed they will not commence their overseas plans until at least the late summer.
The cruise organisers will replace overseas journeys with round-Britain cruises.
However, details of these journeys are yet to be announced.
On May 17, the third step of the lockdown easing plan is due to take place with a number of other lockdown easing planned.
Groups of up to six people and two households will be allowed to meet indoors, with people able to enter each other’s homes from that time.
Pubs and restaurants can also open indoors and it is unlikely there will be strict requirements on capacity, but it must be table service.
Hotels and B&Bs are also due to open in step three, as are indoor sports and gym classes.
Entertainment venues can also reopen, including cinemas and theatres.
However, there will be new rules in place for different sizes of venues.
Outdoor events can welcome up to 4,000 spectators or 50 percent of the venue capacity, whichever is smaller, with indoor events allowed up to 1,000 people or 50 percent capacity, again whichever is lower.
There is a special limit for massive outdoor spaces such as Wembley Stadium, with up to 10,000 attendees allowed or 25 percent capacity, whichever is lower.
Weddings, receptions, wakes, funerals, and other life events can take place.
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