Updated FCO advice clears way for river cruise return

The Foreign Office has updated its advice against cruise ship travel to confirm that it relates to international travel on a “sea-going” cruise ship.

The FCO had previously confirmed its advice applied to all forms of cruising, but the updated guidance paves the way for UK travellers to return to river cruising.

The updated advice would also appear to exclude cruises in UK waters from the blanket ban, although it says those seeking information on such cruises should contact the Department for Transport.

Hurtigruten last week said it was in talks with the government after its plans to operate British Isles itineraries in September were impacted by the guidance.

The FCO advice now says: “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.

“Cruise ship travel means staying overnight for at least 1 night on a sea-going cruise ship with people from multiple households.

“Our advice against cruises applies to international travel on a ship that is exclusively for pleasure or recreation, providing overnight accommodation and other leisure facilities such as entertainment venues or swimming pools.

“Our advice does not include ferries or privately-rented boats.

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

“If you have future cruise travel plans, contact your cruise line, travel operator, or the travel company you booked with, for further advice. For information on cruises in UK waters contact the Department for Transport:

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

Travel Weekly has contacted the Department for Transport for clarification about advice for cruises in UK waters.

Andy Harmer, Clia UK & Ireland director, said: “This latest change to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s advisory regarding cruise ship travel provides a very welcome boost.

“We are seeing a gradual, phased-in approach to resumption of cruise operations across Europe, initially domestic and regional. Clia is continuing its constructive dialogue with the Department for Transport and Public Health England to finalise the road map to resumption of international cruise travel.”

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