Saga changes two UK cruises to avoid Scotland

Saga has been forced to change two UK cruises on Spirit of Discovery (pictured) following the Scottish government’s decision to ban passenger vessels from calling into the country’s ports.

The decision was taken by Scottish authorities over “the unknowns around the Delta variant” among other Covid-19 risk factors.

A Scottish government spokesperson said the country’s cruise ship ban would be lifted once Scotland had reached the lowest Covid restriction level.

MSC Virtuosa was prevented from docking in Greenock less than two days before its scheduled call into the Scottish port earlier this week.

Several lines – including Saga – promptly announced that they would review the situation ahead of their own itineraries which included Scottish calls.

The over-50s operator has now amended its Scottish Highlands and Islands cruise on Spirit of Discovery, departing on June 27.

The revised sailing will now visit the west coast and south coast, calling at Portsmouth, Portland, the Isles of Scilly, and Falmouth.

And the line’s From the Northern Isles to the Fjords sailing, departing on July 3, has also been changed to include calls to the west coast of England, including Portsmouth, Falmouth, Bristol, the Isles of Scilly, and Portland.

On its website, Saga said it would refund 10% of the fare paid “to acknowledge the disappointment this late change may cause”. The line will automatically transfer customers’ bookings to the new itineraries.

Saga said: “[The government’s decision] clearly creates significant uncertainty for us and for you and, against this backdrop, we have taken the difficult decision to amend the itinerary of your cruise.

“I appreciate you may well be disappointed by this news, but we were left with little choice and have acted quickly to ensure a new itinerary that we are confident will be popular with guests who are so keen to return to cruising.”

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