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Which U.K.-Based Cruise Lines Are Sailing Internationally and Where?

U.K. Executive Editor
Adam Coulter

Last updated
Sep 24, 2021

Read time
5 min read

As COVID-19 restrictions gradually ease, a number of cruise lines have started international itineraries -- both from the U.K. and from Europe.

Some have already started like Marella Discovery in the Aegean, while others are planning restart dates later this year.

We've rounded up the lines, the itineraries and vaccination protocols to help you choose the best one for you.


Which ships: Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2

Itineraries:** Queen Elizabeth** will be offering a 10-night and a 12-night Atlantic Coast Adventure cruise with calls in Portugal, Spain and France on November 15 and December 13, 2021.

QM2 will offer a special one-off short break cruise to Cherbourg on November 28, 2021.

Health protocols: From October 13, 202 until December 31, 2021, all passengers over the age of 18 must be fully vaccinated.

Are Any Unvaccinated Passengers Able to Sail? Yes -- from October 13, 2021, passengers at or under the age of 17 must either be fully vaccinated or complete a negative COVID-19 PCR test prior to travel.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Which ships: Bolette, Borealis, Balmoral (December 6).

Itineraries:** Bolette** is offering a series of Continental cruises from Dover and Southampton from October 5, 2021. Destinations include the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, the Netherlands and Malta.

Borealis is offering a variety of cruises to Europe and North Africa and Atlantic islands, including: French rivers, Spanish cities, madeira, the Azores, Morocco, and in keeping with its name, a 16-night early winter cruise to Norway in search of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis.

Balmoral will offer a series of festive cruises to Madeira, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands and winter sun cruises to Cape Verde, Madeira and the Canary Islands.

Health protocols: Fully vaccinated passengers.


Which ships: Marella Discovery, Marella Explorer, Marella Explorer 2

Itineraries:** Marella Discovery** is based in Corfu and is offering week-long cruises calling at: Souda for Chania in Crete, Rhodes Town, Mykonos Town, Piraeus for Athens and Katakolon for Olympia until October 8, before sailing to Barbados, where the ship will offer Caribbean sailings.

Marella Explorer will be based in the Canary Islands over the winter offering a series of cruises around the islands.

Marella Explorer 2 will be based in Montego Bay, Jamaica and will offer a series of cruises around the Caribbean.

Health protocols: The line requires all adults 18-years-old and over to have had both COVID-19 jabs at least seven days before travelling.

Are Any Unvaccinated Passengers Able to Sail?Yes: All under 18-year-olds, excluding infants under the age of two, will be asked to have a lateral flow test. All passengers must also provide proof of a negative lateral flow test before boarding the ships at the start of the cruise.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises will have four ships in operation by the end of the year, two UK-based and two Caribbean-based, offering fly-cruises.

Which ships: Britannia, Iona, Ventura (October 3, 2021), Azura (December 10, 2021).

Where:** Britannia** will be based in Barbados from November 5 and will offer a series of winter fly-cruises.

Iona will offer a mix of 14-night round-trip Canary Island cruises from Southampton from October 9; week-long Northern Europe cruises and 14-night Spain & Portugal cruises.

Ventura will offer a similar mix of European itineraries as Iona throughout winter 2021/22.

Azura will be based in Barbados and offer two-week fly cruises from December 10.

Arcadia and Aurora resume operations in March and April, 2022, respectively.

Health protocols: For all cruises departing from 25 September to 31 December 2021 all guests 18 years old must be double vaccinated. Are Any Unvaccinated Passengers Able to Sail?Yes. All guests aged between five and 17 years old will need to have completed their vaccination course a minimum of 14 days prior to sailing or will require a negative PCR test within 120 hours prior to travel. Guests four years old and younger will be allowed to travel providing their travelling parents/guardians meet the above requirements. All guests will also require a negative COVID-19 test at the terminal; the cost of both the COVID-19 test at the terminal and the PCR test will be complimentary. These cruises are for UK resident guests only.

Princess Cruises

Which ships: Regal Princess, Sky Princess

Where:** Regal Princess** will offer five international sailings from September 30: a 7-night to Spain and France; a 5-night to Belgium and the Netherlands on October 7; an 11-night to the Canary Islands on October 12; a 7-night to Spain and France on October 23 and a 4-night to the Netherlands and Channel Islands on October 30.

Sky Princess will offer two international sailings from October 15: a 7-night to Spain and France and a 14-night to the Med from October 22.

Health protocols: Received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise; Proof of vaccination; Proof of a negative viral COVID-19 test taken at the terminal, which will be provided on a complimentary basis.


Which ships: Spirit of Discovery, Spirit of Adventure

Itineraries: The two ships are offering a series of Continental cruises from three UK ports: Tilbury, Dover and Southampton, with ports of call including the Canary islands, Western Europe and as far afield as Croatia (22 nights).

Health protocols: All passenger must be fully vaccinated.

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