P&O Cruises is stipulating that guests will need to have had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to sail on its programme of coastal cruises around the UK this summer.

The line is insisting “all guests of all ages” be vaccinated against coronavirus, meaning children will not be allowed to join the summer programme.

But it said it would review that policy for international sailings, which it hopes to resume this autumn.


More:P&O to require passengers to be vaccinated for summer cruises


Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Wednesday, the line’s president Paul Ludlow, said: “For summer, we’re only offering coastal cruises around the UK. All guests of all ages will need to be vaccinated. We hope that from the autumn, we’re going to pick up international sailings and we will revisit the vaccination requirement then.”

The summer programme includes three and four-night sailings on Britannia from June 27, and seven-night sailings on new ship Iona from August.

Addressing the Travel Weekly Future of Travel Spring Forum on Wednesday, Simon Palethorpe, president of P&O Cruises’ parent Carnival UK, confirmed guests would need to have both shots of the Covid-19 vaccination, the second one at least seven days before sailing.

“For these few voyages that we’re starting with, we are going to ask that everybody is vaccinated,” he said. “So they’re for UK residents who are Covid-19 vaccinated. That’s what we’re starting with.”

“And yes, they will [have to have had both doses]. We’re asking people to have had seven days post their second dose.”

He said guests had “strongly expressed a preference” that the coastal sailings be for only vaccinated UK residents.

Palethorpe confirmed P&O Cruises would also be requiring guests to have a negative Covid-19 test before boarding. He said: “The vaccine isn’t 100%. I mean, some of them are really jolly good – and the take-up’s been fantastic, particularly in the UK. But they’re not 100%. So we will ask people to go through some form of testing beforehand.

“But all of our guests should rest assured when they’re booking, that whatever testing we’re going to ask them to do pre-boarding, we’re going to cover that within the cost of the fare.”

Prices for a three-night cruise around the coast of the UK with no ports of call, start from £449 per person. Iona’s seven-night maiden voyage starts from £1,199 per person.

Palethorpe stressed that the requirement for a vaccination certificate was only for its ‘Ultimate Staycation’ cruises on Britannia and Iona.

Ludlow told BBC Breakfast: “A letter from your GP to show you’ve been vaccinated will suffice.”

Asked what other health and safety measures would be in place from the first cruise in June, Palethorpe explained: “We’ve been working with the UK Government, through Clia and the UK Chamber of Shipping, for the best part of a year now, to work out precisely what our protocols should be on board.

“So we’ve got lots of protocols around enhanced sanitation measures, appropriate social distancing, and wearing masks in certain areas of the ship, that we think really make this a safe holiday, but nonetheless, still an amazing holiday. So this shouldn’t impinge on the enjoyment of our guests. I’m sure it won’t.”

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