The government has issued advice against cruise ship travel.

The hardened advice follows on from FCO guidance against over-70s and those with existing health conditions taking cruises, which was issued in March as the Covid-19 pandemic hit Europe.

The government updated its advice on Thursday, saying: “The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against cruise ship travel at this time.

“This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.

“The government will continue to review its cruise ship travel advice based on the latest medical advice.”

The FCO added: “If you have future cruise travel plans, you should speak to your travel operator, or the travel company you booked with, for further advice.

“The Foreign & Commonwealth Office continues to support the Department for Transport’s work with industry for the resumption of international cruise travel.”

Updated advice against cruise travel follows changes to the global advisory against non-essential travel, the FCO added. It also confirmed that the guidance covers all cruises, including river operations, based on Public Health England’s assessment.

Cruises from the UK have been halted since March but Hurtigruten announced plans this week to run a series of departures from UK ports in September.

The FCO’s previous advice on March 12 said that British nationals aged 70 and over, and those with underlying health conditions such as chronic diseases and diabetes, should not to travel on cruise ships in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

A Clia UK and Ireland spokeperson said: “We have noted the advisory issued today.

“The health and safety of guests and crew is an absolute priority for our member lines.

“Since the voluntary suspension of operations, we have been working collaboratively with the government on the road map to resumption involving a ‘door to door’ strategy – from the time of booking through to the passengers’ return home – with enhanced health protocols.

“We look forward to completing this planning exercise with government and for the advice to be updated.”

Carnival UK president Simon Palethorpe said: “We acknowledge the FCO’s guidance and P&O Cruises had already extended the pause in operations for all sailings up to October 15, 2020 and Cunard had extended the pause in operations until November 2020.

“Our current focus is to work in partnership with public health agencies at the highest level as well as Department for Transport; EU Healthy Gateways and Clia, the industry governing body.

“We will follow applicable guidelines to further enhance our already stringent measures to keep our guests and crew healthy and well and we will not resume sailings on either of our brands until this framework is in place. This will include rigorous protocols pre-boarding, on ship and in the destinations we visit.

“Confidence in cruising is strong and we are seeing increasing demand from our guests, who we look forward to welcoming back on board when the time is right.”

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