Shapps confirms reopening of international cruise sector

Shapps confirms reopening of international cruise sector

Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has confirmed a ban on international cruises docking in the UK will be lifted.

The policy has been in place since last July, and is due to be lifted on August 2nd.

The move comes as part of a wider relaxation of rules, which will see double vaccinated travellers from the United States and European Union able to skip quarantine requirements.

The government and cruise industry have signed a “breakthrough memorandum understanding,” Shapps said, to help the sector build back from Covid-19.

The new rules would also continue to protect British nationals from future pandemic-related disruption, he added.

Shapps continued: “We have taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward.

“Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade – this is progress we can all enjoy.

“We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme, we are able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US while further cementing ties with our European neighbours.”

The resumption of international cruises follows the successful restart of domestic trips earlier this year.

Cruise lines have been sailing round Britain with enhanced protocols.

Since last summer, around 800,000 people have sailed on cruises around the world, according to industry figures, demonstrating the “effectiveness” of the industry-wide protocols.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) welcomed the announcement that cruise lines can once again operate international sailings. 

CLIA managing director for UK & Ireland, Andy Harmer, said: “The decision to allow the restart of international cruise is very good news for the industry.

“The success of this summer’s round Britain cruises has led the way. 

“The cruise industry has worked intensively during the last 18 months in collaboration with the government, health authorities, ports, and other industry bodies to develop enhanced protocols that protect guests, crew, and the destinations we visit. 

“The industry looks forward to welcoming guests back onboard to visit international destinations.” 

The framework protocols agreed with the government will apply to international cruises.

This means, for example, the current practice of 100 per cent testing of guests on UK domestic cruising will apply to international sailings.

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