Portugal main
Portugal was axed from the green list yesterday throwing holidays into chaos. Credit: Shutterstock

Portugal cruise holidays: What does move to amber list mean for cruises?

Author: Harriet Mallinson

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Portugal holidays received an enormous blow yesterday afternoon as it emerged the hotspot was being moved from the green list to the amber list by the Government. What does this mean for cruise holidays 2021?

Portugal cruises for the summer soared in popularity after the first green list was announced last month.

The country, along with Iceland, became the only viable holiday option for many due to the limited nature of the green list.

Yesterday, this list shrank further to 11 as no new nations were added.

From 4am on June 8, anyone who travels to Portugal and the other amber countries (which consist of most major holiday destinations including Italy, France, Greece and Spain) face greater restrictions.

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Arriving back from these nations requires travellers to take a COVID-19 test, book and pay for day two and day eight COVID-19 travel tests – to be taken after arrival in England, and complete a passenger locator form.

On arrival in England, you must quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days and take a COVID-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight.

So what does all this mean for holidays and cruises this summer?

The travel industry is outraged by the Government's latest move.

Andrew Flintham, Managing Director for TUI UK, said on Thursday: “This latest announcement is another step back for our industry. After promises that the Global Travel Taskforce would result in a clear framework, removing the damaging flip flopping we all endured last summer, the Government decision to move Portugal straight from green to amber will do untold damage to customer confidence."

Travel Guidance infographic
Holidays: Your guide to the latest traffic light updates for major holiday destinations. Credit: World of Cruising

He continued: "We were reassured that a green watch list would be created and a weeks’ notice would be given so travellers wouldn’t have to rush back home. They have failed on this promise."

TUI's cruise brand Marella Cruises is unlikely to be impacted by the changes - the line has cancelled all international cruises until July 31.

However other major cruise lines may well feel the brunt of the news.

Riviera Travel is one company whose Douro cruises were proving popular this summer.

However, the cruise line has pledged not to take guests anywhere that won't guarantee them a "fantastic experience."

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The next green list review comes in three weeks, so unless Portugal is reinstated at that time, Riviera may have to cancel summer holidays.

A Riviera Travel spokesperson told World of Cruising: "We were disappointed by yesterday’s decision on Portugal as so many of our guests were keen and ready to pack their bags in the next few weeks and enjoy the delights of a summer cruise on the Douro river.

"We of course fully understand that safety is paramount and the government has to make difficult decisions to protect us all. However, the promise of the traffic light system to give clarity to the travel sector - including a Green watch list - simply hasn't materialised.

“The government must now consider how it will offer clear support to our industry over the summer and reduce uncertainty wherever possible, for the benefit of the whole travel sector, the wider economy, and holidaymakers who want to be able to plan an overseas break with confidence."

Douro
Riviera Travel is one company whose Douro cruises were proving popular this summer. Credit: Shutterstock
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The spokesperson added: "We will continue working hard on behalf of our guests, who have remained incredibly loyal to us, so we can provide an overseas holiday for them as soon as possible.

"And we will continue to uphold our pledge that we won’t operate holidays to anywhere unless we can guarantee a fantastic experience once there. We’re very grateful to our guests for their understanding in these turbulent times."

P&O Cruises has said if cruises need to be cancelled then they will inform guests well in advance.

A P&O spokesperson told World of Cruising: "We continue to work with the relevant authorities and Government departments and if changes are necessary to any cruises we will advise our guests in good time."

Celebrity Cruises are also operating Portugal cruise holidays this summer but did not comment.

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