Cruising From January? UK Ministers Discuss 'Phased Restart' of Cruises

Author: Isabella Sullivan

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UK ministers are reportedly in talks about the 'phased restart' of cruises, with cruising set to resume as early as January 2021

Things could be looking up for the UK cruise industry, as it has been reported that ministers are considering a 'phased restart' for the industry.

According to the Daily Mail, ministers are in talks to give cruise the green light to restart operations, following blanket advice from the Foreign Office back in July advising against cruising.

Since the travel ban, the cruise industry has been working tirelessly to create an extremely safe environment on board, with regulations such as pre-boarding Covid-19 tests, the wearing of face masks and deep cleaning on board.

P&O Cruises ships are currently tied up around the UK

In response to these enhanced health and safety procedures, it has been reported that ministers are at an advanced stage of discussions to resume cruise operations.

The restart could come as early as January, beginning with domestic cruises around the coast of the UK.

According to the Daily Mail, if the trails are successful, it could result in the go-ahead for the phased restart of cruise operations.

As per the news outlet, a Whitehall source reportedly said: 'We are working on a framework to allow the industry to reopen safely early in the new year.

'That will allow cruises to restart and enable bookings to take place to start bringing money into the industry again.'

The cruise industry is worth around £10 billion to the UK economy.

Cruise ships not in service, due to such travel bans, are currently moored up around the world – including more than 30 at UK ports.

Following the news, CLIA (the Cruise Lines International Association) called for the government to lift its blanket ban on cruising.

Domestic cruises round Britain could be given the go-ahead

The cruise association – whose members include lines like Royal Caribbean, P&O Cruises and Silversea – has called on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to remove its ban and 'bring us into line with the rest of the transport industry'.

CLIA's request also comes after the US Centers for Disease Control removed its no-sail order last month, and news of a possible Covid-19 vaccine broke.

Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland director, said: 'CLIA and its cruise line members are working collaboratively with Government and health authorities as we plan the safe resumption of cruise operations at the appropriate time based on new safety protocols.

'We are supportive of the government’s wider travel advice, but are now calling for the removal of FCDO's specific ban on cruising to bring us into line with the rest of the transport industry.'

A restart of the UK cruise industry would help protect 88,000 jobs and contribute to the UK economy.