England's domestic cruises have been given the green light with a possible 17 May 2021 restart, English Maritime Minister Robert Courts announced last night.
The news came via a Tweet from the APPMPG (All Party Parliamentary Maritime & Group):
"NEWS Maritime Minister @robertcourts announces the reopening of the domestic #cruise market in England on 17 May at tonight's @APPMPG meeting."
A second Tweet stated: "From repatriation procedures and risk mitigations to CV-19 protocols and the domestic vaccination programme, a great @APPMPG session w/ @robertcourts who delivered some much appreciated news. A pathway to the domestic cruise market re-opening on 17 May."
The announcement comes a week after MSC Cruises, P&O and Princess Cruises announced that they are all considering UK only cruises and suspending all international cruises to and from England.
The APPMPG has confirmed that it was in discussion with the rest of the United Kingdom in order to have a UK-wide restart.
Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland Director said, “We strongly welcome the announcement that cruises will be included alongside the restart of other domestic tourism in the UK. The industry has been working with the Government over the last year on health protocols which put the safety of our passengers and crew first. Many of these protocols have already been tested successfully where cruise has been able to operate elsewhere in Europe."
He added, "The industry has long planned a phased restart for cruise, with domestic cruises representing the first stage of this plan. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Government, including through the Global Travel Taskforce in order to ensure the safe restart of international cruise in time for the summer season.”
MSC Cruises is expecting to start sailing in UK waters with the MSC Magnifica on 14 May 2021. For Princess Cruises and P&O, we are awaiting an update that should come this week.