Domestic cruises 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 earlier this month after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the “roadmap” for easing lockdown restrictions in England.
According to the roadmap, 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 vaccine rollout proceeds.
And so, 17 May is the earliest date which could see domestic tourism and indoor hospitality sectors resume, and with it the restart of domestic cruising in England according to a statement from the Department for Transport.
With the summer holiday fast approaching, this news is well-received among cruise organisers such as Royal Caribbean and P&O Cruises, who have announced plans for bolstered domestic schedules.
Cruise Lines International Association UK and Ireland director Andy Harmer said: “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.”
Details of these protocols as well as dates and itineraries for the cruises have yet to be disclosed but restarting domestic cruises could be the first step in reopening the travel sector while international travel is still highly restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the vaccine roll-out on track and more than half of the UK’s adult population having received their first dose, it does seem a good time to resume travelling within the country, albeit with caution, which would in turn boost the local economy and make way for the return of international sailings, possibly later in the year.
Also, it is a good opportunity to promote and explore local British attractions, heritage and culture as opposed to the usual European summer getaways.