New rules designed to restart sailings will make cruises one of the safest modes of transport, an industry leader claims.

New protocols have been drawn up by lines that they hope will convince ministers to give UK departures the green light in the new year.

The government continues to advise against taking cruises despite countries on the Continent relaxing their guidance and lines such as Aida, Costa and MSC Cruises resuming sailings in the Mediterranean from Italy.

Measures introduced include passengers and crew being tested for Covid-19 with negative results required prior to boarding. Other protocols include regular temperature and health checks for guests and crew, physical distancing guidelines, facial coverings, capacity controls and increased sanitisation measures, as well as guided shore excursions to maintain health protocols.

The UK Chamber of Shipping has worked with the cruise industry over more than six months to produce a framework for a return of sailings, which lines can tailor to their ships and itineraries.

Chamber chief executive Bob Sanguinetti told The Telegraph: “We are asking the government to consider this sooner rather than later.

“Cruising is going to be one of the safest modes of travel and tourism because with these protocols in place and the extra measure that we are going to take, they will have a much closer oversight of their passengers when they embark than at a hotel when a client walks into the lobby. Likewise when a passenger steps on to an aircraft.”

Parts of the protocols include charter aircraft being on standby in case of a major emergency.

However, he hoped the measures operators intended to have before departure would negate them ever being required.

They would also allow passengers to enjoy their time on board, he added.

Sanguinetti said: “With the precautions we are taking and the space that we have, you can create safe bubbles. You can create cohorts within the cruise that allows things like social distancing rules to be maintained.

“From a UK perspective, there is no one that is advertising for cruises over the next two to three months. Those operators have taken the pragmatic approach to shift their sights onto the new year.”

MoreFramework developed to steer UK cruise return

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