The Department for Transport (DfT) is set to increase capacity limits to 50% for cruise ships operating domestic cruises with fully vaccinated passengers on board.
Since May 17 UK-based ships have been permitted to sail with 1,000 passengers or at 50% capacity, whichever was lower.
Last week, MSC Cruises updated its vaccination policy, meaning that only passengers who had received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine could sail on MSC Virtuosa (pictured). The line said the move was in line with updated government guidance, but the DfT declined to confirm that was the case.
The DfT finally confirmed the move with cruise body Clia on Thursday (July 8) – 10 days after MSC updated its vaccination policy and was followed by P&O Cruises.
In a statement, Clia UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer welcomed the news from the DfT, calling it “a positive development”.
He said: “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% 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.”