(12:15 p.m. BST) -- Two cruise lines -- one river and one ocean -- have restarted cruising in the UK after a five month break.
English River Cruises, which offers cruises along the River Severn, and The Majestic Line, which operates in the Western isles of Scotland, both re-started operations over the weekend.
Both lines are operating at less than full capacity and have introduced strict new health and safety protocols.
English Holiday Cruises operates a single ship The Edward Elgar which normally carries 22 passengers in 11 twin-cabins but this capacity has been reduced to 18.
“The first passengers of the season are aboard our ship, The Edward Elgar, for a holiday cruise on the River Severn," said owner Richard Clements.
The line was forced to cancel half of its holiday season due to the coronavirus pandemic and has put in place the following enhanced health and safety measures onboard:
• virucidal fogging between cruises and UVmatic overnight air sterilisation;
• pre-boarding health checks and baggage sanitising;
• contactless check-in and hand-sanitisers everywhere;
• a one-way system around the vessel with distancing signage;
• exclusive lounge/dining spaces with screening;
• ‘no-share’ airflow and table service for everything;
• cabins also with ‘no-share’ airflow and a choice of a daily cleaning or simple replenishment of towels; tours and local transportation adhering to safety measures;
• daily health checks for crew and guests and more besides, all accredited under the new Visit England ‘Good to Go’ scheme.
The Majestic Line is operating its two newest vessels -- Glen Shiel and Glen Etive -- on six-night cruises with a reduced capacity of just 10 passengers onboard, as opposed to 12.
New health protocols include weekly crew testing for COVID-19, daily passenger and crew temperature checks and deep cleaning of all areas.
"The Majestic Line is really happy to be back in the water on the West Coast for the last two months of our season," said managing Director Ken Grant.
"Our first priority is the safety of the passengers and crew while ensuring our guests have as normal a ‘Majestic Line’ experience as possible."
Grant added that the line's two other ships -- one of which, Glen Tarsan, featured in an episode of "Cruising with Jane McDonald" -- were both available for charter hire.
The lines join a number of European small ship lines that have restarted including A-ROSA, Viva and Nicko; as well as big ship line, MSC Cruises.