P&O Cruises will require passengers to be vaccinated before embarking on a short series of UK coastal cruises this summer.

The requirement was disclosed as the line outlined departures by new ship Iona and Britannia from Southampton between June and September.

Passengers will need to have been given a second vaccine dose a minimum of seven days before departure.

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Proof of vaccination and the dates given will be required and this will have to be shown at the terminal prior to boarding, according to the company.

Iona will run seven-night itineraries running from August 7 until September 18, with the cost of its maiden voyage starting at £1,199 per person. The vessel will anchor off its namesake Scottish island on its first sailing.

Britannia will offer three and four night breaks and one six-night sailing running from June 27 until September 19. Prices start at £449pp for three nights.

The line said: “Given the advanced progress of the UK vaccination programme, and strong expressed preference on the part of our guests for this limited series of UK coastal cruises, these sailings on Britannia and Iona will be for UK resident Covid-19 vaccinated guests only.

“There is no age restriction on this series of UK coastal cruises but all guests of all ages must meet the requirements of the Covid-19 vaccination policy. All other P&O Cruises holidays currently on sale do not require guests to be vaccinated,” the line added.

Travel insurance will also be mandatory with cruises going on sale on March 22 at 8.30am.

“All guests and crew will be required to follow enhanced health and wellbeing measures to protect everyone on board on these cruises,” P&O Cruises said. “These have been developed with guidance from our global medical and public health experts and scientists and in close co-ordination with UK government agencies.

“These protocols include enhanced sanitation measures, appropriate social distancing and the wearing of masks in certain areas of the ship.

“Crew will also undergo a strict testing and quarantine regime as well as regular testing during their time on board.

“Our protocols are subject to change, as we will continue to work with our experts and with government bodies to ensure all of our practices evolve in line with latest advice, with our primary focus always being to protect the health and wellbeing of our crew and guests and the communities we visit.”

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Given recent announcements we have every hope that our guests will be able to enjoy a holiday this summer.

“After the stresses and challenges of the past year everyone certainly deserves a treat and this series of cruises will provide memorable and much needed UK getaways.

“Whilst there is still uncertainty about holidays abroad this summer, we are delighted to be able to offer our guests the ultimate escape here in the UK with the reassurance that we will take care of everything. Also, we really will look at the weather forecast each cruise and aim to take our ships where it is warm and sunny.

“As the start of Iona’s very special maiden season, the new Ultimate Escape series of holidays includes a memorable seven-night maiden voyage sailing around the Scottish islands. Iona will anchor off Iona, the island after which she was named, with a celebratory extended stay until sunset for magical views of the historic shores.”

Ludlow added: “As we have spent the majority of the last year at home, to be able to have a restorative and relaxing break, sit on deck with a sea view in the summer sunshine and then enjoy an indulgent dinner and show – it’s certainly what we all need this year and we cannot wait to have our guests back on board.”

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