(6:30 p.m. BST) -- The Foreign Office announced it will ease travel exemptions for 67 countries as of July 4, paving the way for a restart for cruise tourism from the UK to ports of call in Europe and beyond.
Travel to and from the UK from most of Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, and destinations in Asia-Pacific such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan are all exempt from the Foreign Office's previous travel ban.
"From 4 July, our travel advice will change, with exemptions for travelling to certain countries that no longer pose a high risk for British travellers," the department said in a statement.
"We are monitoring the international situation very closely and keeping this advice under constant review so it reflects our latest assessment of risks to British people."
Absent from these new "air bridges" are the United States, China, Russia, and all of Latin and Central America, from which travel to and from the UK is currently excluded.
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All of Africa (excluding Reunion Island) and mainland Portugal are also currently not included, ruling out Douro River cruises for the moment. Travel to the Azores and Madeira are exempt.
The Foreign Office states that a range of factors were taken into account in coming up with these new exemptions, including the incidence rate of coronavirus cases and the resilience of healthcare in each country.
The move dramatically increases the chances for ex-UK cruises in the coming months to destinations in Europe, and even the possible resumption of fly-cruise packages to the Caribbean for the winter months. Currently, the UK has granted exemptions for a number of sun destinations, including Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, Jamaica, Martinique, the Bahamas and Bermuda, among others.
However, there are still no guarantees that the host country will not require U.K. citizens to quarantine once they arrive and it is always worth checking with your airline or cruise line on the latest conditions before you travel.
The move is the latest bit of positive news for the European region, which has seen the cautious resumption of river cruises on the Danube from Nicko and other operators; and the resumption of cruise voyages in Norway aboard Hurtigruten's ships departing from Bergen and Hamburg.
Other cruises expected to restart in the coming months include Croisi in France, Variety Cruises in Greece on July 24 and Ponant in France. AIDA has also stated its intention to resume some European voyages beginning August 15 while Costa also plans for a cautious restart by mid-August.
For the full list of countries visit the FCO website.