BRITS can now travel to 74 countries without needing to quarantine – but the Government says all cruise holidays are still banned.
Last week, the government announced the full list of air bridge countries which would be exempt from the UK quarantine, due to come into place today, Friday.
The travel ban was also lifted for a number of destinations including Spain, Greece and Turkey, since July 4.
Holidays are now back on the cards for many Brits who are looking at visiting Europe and further afield, with airlines resuming flights this month as well.
Cruise holidays, however, are not going to resume any time soon with the government still advising against them.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has today changed its advice, urging all holidaymakers against boarding cruise ships.
The Government had previously urged over-70s to avoid sailings.
The current advice states: “The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against cruise ship travel at this time. This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.
“The government will continue to review its cruise ship travel advice based on the latest medical advice.”
“If you have future cruise travel plans, you should speak to your travel operator, or the travel company you booked with, for further advice.
“The Foreign & Commonwealth Office continues to support the Department for Transport’s work with industry for the resumption of international cruise travel.”
A Whitehall source told the Daily Mail: “There are huge health concerns over how the virus spreads on cruise ships.
“There need to be major changes to how they operate before they can resume sailings because we’ve seen how easily the virus can spread on board.
“Another issue is repatriation.
“During the crisis, the Foreign Office had to bring back 19,000 British nationals from cruise liners.
“There is concern in Government that we will have to do this again if we allow sailings to restart.”
A cruise industry source said: “On the face of it we are being cooperative, but most of us are privately fuming.
“Confidence in cruise holidays is high and we have gone to great lengths to make our services safe, with social distancing in communal airports, pre-boarding Covid tests and temperature checks at entrances to dining halls.”
The news will also disappoint thousands of people who have booked trips following the easing of travel restrictions last week, and force cruise companies to pay out hundreds of thousands in refunds.
Rory Boland, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “Most cruise holiday customers should be legally entitled to a cash refund within 14 days under the package travel regulations, but as we’ve seen across the travel industry recently, operators facing a surge in refund claims are often taking longer to return customers’ money to them.
“If refunds will be delayed, cruise companies must urgently let customers know and give a clear timetable for when money will be returned.
“The FCO should also extend its warning to include a definitive date, to give operators and customers clarity over when it will be safe to rebook.”
A number of outbreaks on cruise ships during the pandemic has led to cruise liners suspending all sailings.
TUI’s Marella Cruises has extended its travel suspension until August 27, while Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean won’t sail again until September – with all dates likely to be pushed back again.
Carnival Cruises is to resume some European sailings from August – but Brits are still currently advised against cruising by the UK government.
A number of major cruise lines announced a suspension of operations out of all US ports will continue until at least September 15 due to the pandemic.
It is worth noting that the US is likely to remain off the UK’s travel list until much later in the year, meaning US-based cruises may not be possible for the upcoming months.
The EU has also issued a number of new regulations, advising additional cleaning procedures, reduced capacity and limited food and entertainment options for when cruises can go ahead again.