SeaDream Yacht Club ship SeaDream 1 stopped to pick up passengers from Portsmouth for a transatlantic crossing to the Caribbean.

The first international cruise call at the port since sailings were suspended enabled 19 passengers to join the 112-capacity ship.

Strict health protocols were required, including the use of coronavirus testing 72 hours in advance and immediately before boarding, alongside extensive cleaning and sanitation regimes.

All crew members are certified for the World Health Organisation’s infection prevention and control for coronavirus course and Covid-19 contact tracing course from Johns Hopkins University.

SeaDream 1 had previously called at Oslo and Rotterdam, en route to the UK, part of a 21-day trip to Bridgetown, Barbados.

The port of Portsmouth has implemented enhanced protocols since the start of the pandemic, including a reconfigured terminal layout to maximise social distancing, and a temperature camera to check passengers, staff and crew.

Operations followed the government’s recent cruise framework agreement and the whole cruise call was overseen by port health and port staff. No passengers left the ship, and only 19 guests went on board.

Portsmouth was the UK’s first port to install a thermal imaging camera and to also receive official independent verification for its Covid-19 health measures by international auditors.

Port head of operations Ian Diaper said: “It’s testament to everyone’s hard work that SeaDream Yacht Club was confident to use Portsmouth as the first UK port to manage a turnaround call since sailings were suspended.

“It was great to see a cruise ship in the port once more and pleased to see operations go to plan.

“We’re experienced at managing passengers in a Covid secure way, with ferry sailings taking place regularly since July following strict protocols. This had given us insight for what’s required and we’re ready to help the industry recover when cruise returns to its full capacity.”