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Cruise ship passenger capacity to increase from July 19 in boost for UK holidays

Author: Harriet Mallinson

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Updated on:

Cruise ships will be able to operate at 50 percent passenger capacity from July 19, it has been confirmed in an exciting boost to domestic cruises.

The Department of Transport is set to increase the guest limits as Covid restrictions lift in England in under two weeks.

Cruise ships will be able to operate at half capacity from July 19.

Previously they could only sail with a maximum of 1,000 passengers - proving a hindrance to larger ships - before the rules changed to cruises with a "COVID-19 vaccination policy in place" able to operate at 50 percent capacity.

In fact, last week MSC Cruises updated its vaccination policy so only fully vaccinated passengers could sail on MSC Virtuosa so the line could make the most of rule change.

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The current Department of Transport travel advice states: "To count as fully vaccinated, passengers will need to have received both doses of a UK approved vaccine, more than 14 days before joining the cruise.

"Vaccination requirements do not apply to people under the age of 18, to people with a medical exemption, or people involved in COVID-19 vaccination trials.

"Cruise operators are applying policies which will require all passengers to present a negative COVID-19 test before boarding.

- READ MORE: Full list of major cruise line's vaccine policies -

"Crew members are expected to accept the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it is available to them. Operators should have a clear plan in place to ensure an expedited process for crew to be fully vaccinated by the end of October."

Looking ahead at the next step of the roadmap, DfT details: It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after two weeks in case the risks have reduced."

Cruise ships will be able to operate at half capacity from July 19. Credit: Shutterstock

The authority continued: "By step 4, the government hopes to remove all legal limits on social contact. This includes removing guidance concerning capacity limits for domestic cruises."

Cruise body Clia has welcomed the news that cruise ships can all operate at 50 percent capacity in under a fortnight.

- READ MORE: Full list of major cruise line's face mask policies -

Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland managing director, said: "We welcome the news that as of July 19, if the next step of the Government roadmap goes ahead, the 1,000-passenger limit on domestic cruises can be lifted to enable larger ships to sail at 50 percent capacity.

"As the cruise industry's phased return picks up, this is another positive development.

"We continue to work with the Government on the regulations for domestic and international cruising, with the view to ultimately achieving a full return to service."

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