Princess Cruises is to launch a series of short ex-UK cruises only available to British passengers this summer.

Regal Princess and Sky Princess (pictured) will operate the ex-Southampton voyages, some of which last seven days. They are due to go on sale later this month.

The line’s move comes hours after sister line P&O Cruises announced plans to launch a programme of UK sailings aimed at the British market.

Sailings on Sky Princess, Regal Princess and Island Princess have been cancelled through to September 25, 2021, as part of the change.

Tony Roberts, the line’s vice president, UK & Europe, thanked travel agents for their “unwavering support” and said the government’s roadmap last month had given the line “optimism” that cruises would return this summer.

He said: “Recent announcements from the UK government on the roadmap to the end of lockdown has given us all optimism that we will be able to have a summer break.

“When restrictions are lifted, it is clear that holidays in the UK will be the first to restart before the gradual return of international travel.

“We are eager to welcome our guests back onboard as soon as it is safe to do so. By offering a series of short UK breaks, we can provide guests with a relaxed holiday at sea so they can enjoy a much-needed getaway.”

Roberts added that the line remains in “close contact” with Clia, the government, and other associated bodies for discussions over the restart of cruise.

“We are extremely appreciative of the unwavering support from our trade partners and would like to thank them for their continued understanding and cooperation,” he said.

“More details of dates, itineraries and prices for the new UK cruises will be announced later this month.

“We look forward to welcoming our guests back onboard to create summertime memories in a safe and relaxed environment.”

Princess will offer passengers booked on a cancelled voyage the chance to move to an equivalent cruise in 2022, with their fare held at its 2021 price.

Alternatively, passengers can choose a future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 110% of the cruise fare paid or a full refund for 100% of the fare paid.

Those on cancelled cruises with no matched cruises in 2022 will automatically receive the FCC.

FCCs can be used on any cruises booked by and sailing by December 31, 2022.