The UK Transport Secretary recently said that travel abroad should be banned until all adults in the UK are vaccinated and that people should not book holidays. This is an important step forward as the UK is facing a rapidly spreading mutation of the virus and vaccination coverage is the highest in Europe.
If this becomes official policy, it will mean bad news for the tourism sector and in particular for the cruise industry. The vaccination is not expected to be completed before the end of the year. This would mean that British cruisers would not be able to depart from a port outside the UK this year.
With Brexit being a pandemic, and now new ideas to fully vaccinate before travel, this creates even more problems for an industry that is already struggling.
Grant Shepps, the transport minister, told BBC Breakfast that the UK is serious about vaccination programmes, which must be completed before tourists are allowed to travel again.
Mr Shaps also told Radio 4 that it was too early to book holidays at home or abroad now.
The allegations come after the UK announced plans to quarantine hotels. The penalty for not disclosing information about a visit to Portugal or other Red List countries within the last 10 days is 10 years in prison.
It’s worth a read: How global flight restrictions could affect cruises
According to Grant Shapps, not only should British adults be vaccinated, but other countries should reach the same level as the UK: We will have to wait for other countries to follow our lead before this international divide widens.
In a move that is sure to raise the ire of Britain’s cruise lines, the Transport Secretary has issued some advice to anyone planning a holiday:
As for the diminishing likelihood that someone listening to this interview is currently considering booking a holiday under the current circumstances, remember that legally you cannot do so at this time. Until you know the outcome of the ban, which we can’t know until we have more data, more information, more information about vaccines, please don’t book a vacation for something that is currently not allowed, here or abroad.
Shapps said the public should wait until they have a clear picture of the situation this summer before booking anything:
The next thing I know, I don’t know where we’ll be this summer. It is too early to give you this information. You should wait until everything is clear before booking anything. The best advice is to do nothing at this stage.
Since the Transport Secretary’s comments, there has been no significant change on the part of the British cruise lines. The Minister of Transport has made a number of comments on the state of transport over the past year, many of which have not been followed up because of the volatile and changing situation we find ourselves in.
Photos: SeregaSibTravel / Shutterstock.com
The comments come after UK cruise line SAGA has already postponed cruises until May and June 2021, with the added restriction that all guests on board must be 100% vaccinated. This seems to be the only way to reconcile the UK government’s plans with those of the cruise lines.
This may well be a requirement that all cruise lines must meet if they intend to sail with British customers or from British ports. This will happen when the only other option the British government is willing to offer is a 14-day quarantine or a 10-year prison sentence.
Also read : The importance of the vaccine for cruises in 2021
It is not yet clear what impact these projects will have on cruise departure dates. The current departure dates of the British cruise lines are listed below:
- P&O Cruises UK : April 2021
- Cunard: Queen Victoria on the 17th. May 2021, Queen Mary 2 on June 4, 2021 and Queen Elizabeth on June 14, 2021. June 2021.
- SAGA Cruises: The spirit of adventure will take place on the 4th. May 2021 resumes, Spirit of Discovery at 2. June 2021.
- Marella Cruz: European operations to 31. March 2021. The cruise line also announced the return of all long voyages by the 30th. April 2021 postponed.
- Fred Olsen Cruise Line: Borealis – 22. May 2021, Bolette – 29. May 2021, Balmoral – 9. June 2021, Braemar – Spring 2022.
As we have seen repeatedly over the past year, this data is likely to change again as the situation evolves and remains volatile. The day on which we will be able to propose a definitive departure date still seems far away.
Main photo credit: Ben Molyneux / Shutterstock.com
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