Cruises could be on the way (Picture: Getty Images)
Cruise lines could restart domestic voyages from May 17, a group of MPs has been told.
The government had advised holiday-makers to avoid cruises since June 2020 because of the coronavirus crisis.
Maritime minister Robert Courts made the announcement at a virtual meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Maritime and Ports Group on Monday.
Under the current road map for easing coronavirus restrictions in England, May 17 is the earliest date that could see both domestic and international travel resume.
The Independent reports that Mr Court told MPs the government is working with home nations to get UK-wide cruises operating again. While voyages between English ports are likely to resume on the earliest date set on the current plan.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow commented: ‘We are delighted that the Government has acknowledged that UK domestic cruise holidays can begin from May 17. Whilst it will take some weeks after this date for us to restart our operations, we are very much looking forward to welcoming guests onboard this summer.’
The leading British cruise line announced last week it will offer a series of week-long UK sailings departing from Southampton this summer. Dates and itineraries are yet to be confirmed.
The UK Chamber of Shipping and Cruise Lines International Association announced the industry has been working closely with the government on health protocols. Both say the safety of both passengers and crew is paramount.
In a statement, the association said many of these protocols have been tested successfully in areas of Europe where cruises are currently operating.
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said of the development: ‘The restart of domestic cruises in England will be aligned with the wider resumption of the domestic tourism and indoor hospitality sectors.’
‘We are committed to restarting cruise travel when it is safe to do so, and we are working closely with the sector to prepare for a safe and successful restart.’
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