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Fred. Olsen Latest Cruise Line to Announce Restart For Round-Britain Cruises
Update: When Will Cruising Restart in the UK?
P&O Cruises' Iona ready to leave the shipyard for sea trials (Photo: David Hecker von Aschwege).

Update: When Will Cruising Restart in the UK?

Update: When Will Cruising Restart in the UK?
P&O Cruises' Iona ready to leave the shipyard for sea trials (Photo: David Hecker von Aschwege).

May 12, 2021

Adam Coulter
UK Managing Editor
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(9:15 a.m. BST) -- The news cruise lines and passengers had been waiting patiently for over a year has finally happened -- domestic cruising was given the green light for a restart from May 17 -- the day international travel is scheduled to resume.

It did not take long for the lines to announce their restart dates.

Viking was first out of the blocks, with an announcement that not only would it restart cruising on May 22, but that it would also christen its newest ship Viking Venus, right here in the UK on May 17.

P&O Cruises followed, announcing a series of round-Britain cruises for vaccinated passengers only, starting June 27.

And on the same day, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines announced a series of round-Britain cruises with limited port stops, starting July 5.

MSC Cruises then announced it would restart -- two days' arlier than Viking -- on May 20, with its newest ship and flagship MSC Virtuosa.

Disney Cruise Line and Cunard Line then followed suit, with Celebrity Cruises confirming it would base Celebrity Silhouette in Southampton from July 3 and Royal Caribbean will base Anthem of the Seas in Southampton from July 7.

Then in an unexpected move, Virgin Voyages announced it would sail Scarlet Lady back to the U.K., offering a series of round-Britain cruises in August. Then to round off the summer, Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced a September sailing.

In April, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) updated its blanket ban on ocean cruising, issuing the following advice: "Domestic cruises will be able to operate with up to 1,000 people or 50 percent capacity, whichever is lower. This capacity limit applies to passengers only.

"COVID-secure guidance will continue to apply. Groups of more than 6 people or 2 households will not be allowed to mix indoors – whether or not they originally booked in the same group."

It is also worth noting that at present the green light is just for cruising from England; the devolved governments have yet to confirm a restart date.

International cruising looks set to restart, too, in line with government guidelines, but there is no start date yet and the FCDO still has a specific advisory against international ocean cruises.

CLIA issued the following statement: "We welcome the announcement to restart international cruises alongside the wider resumption of international travel, in line with the "traffic light" system.

"This announcement is the culmination of extensive collaboration between industry, government, health authorities and ports during the last twelve months to further strengthen health measures, which now go beyond any other travel sector."

While the advisory doesn't mean you can't cruise abroad, it does mean you may well struggle with insurance because you are going against explicit FCDO advice.

However, there is some hope that that specific advisory will be removed. Maritime minister Robert Courts, who was instrumental in getting the green light for a domestic resumption, when asked about the advisory in Parliament responed:

"My Hon. Friend is right that travel advice remains a matter for the FCDO, but he can be absolutely sure that my officials and I will continue to engage with that Department."

CLIA released the following statement:

"The announcement of next steps leading to a restart of domestic and international travel is welcome. We will engage with Government as part of the new Global Travel Taskforce on achieving a safe restart for cruise at home and abroad in the coming months.

"The health and safety of our passengers will remain our priority and the cruise industry has over the past year been working with government on a detailed set of protocols to allow cruising to resume in a safe way."

And the UK Chamber of Shipping has also called for the advisory to be lifted "urgently": "We want to see the travel advice changed as soon as possible," said Bob Sanguinetti, head of the Chamber.

At last count there were a total of 16 cruise lines and 21 ships offering round-Britain cruises.

Here is your guide to which lines are restarting cruising, when, what ship and vaccination requirements. We will add to this as more lines make restart announcements.

Ocean Cruise Lines

MSC Cruises

M S C  V I R T U O S A (1)

Ship: MSC Virtuosa

When: May 20, 2021.

Itineraries: Southampton, offering a series of short-break cruises and week-long summer sailings calling in at Portland, Liverpool, Greenock and Belfast.

Requirements: Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination required for passengers over the age of 18 and crew. Passengers under 18 will require a negative PCR test.


Viking Venus (Photo: Viking)

Ship: Viking Venus

When: May 22, 2021.

Itineraries: The line will offer five eight-day ocean itineraries with embarkation dates of May 22, 29 and June 5, 12 and 19 for U.K. residents only from Portsmouth, calling in at Liverpool, Tresco in the Isles of Scilly, Falmouth and Portland.

Requirements: All passengers must be fully vaccinated. A negative PCR test and daily non-invasive saliva PCR tests for both crew and passengers. Over 18s only.

Noble Caledonia

Hebridean Sky (APT) TA Listings Page Image

Ship: MS Hebridean Sky

When: June 3, 2021

Itineraries: Eight-night island-hopping cruise from Plymouth to Oban.

Requirements: Fully vaccinated passengers only.

Marella Cruises

Marella Explorer (Photo: Marella Cruises)

Ship: Marella Explorer, Marella Explorer 2.

When: June 25, July 10.

Itineraries: Marella Explorer will offer seven new UK itineraries during the summer season with a three-night itinerary from Southampton, visiting Dover and Portland, and a seven-night itinerary in August from Southampton, visiting Liverpool, Dublin and Cobh in the Republic of Ireland.

ME2 will depart Newcastle, with itineraries that include stops in Leith for Edinburgh, Greenock for Glasgow, Lerwick and Belfast to start with, with two international itineraries at the end of the summer -- one calling in at Le Havre and another to Iceland.

Requirements: The line will require all adults 18-years-old and over to have had both COVID-19 jabs at least seven days before travelling. All under 18-year-olds, excluding infants under the age of two who will not be able to sail as they are exempt from testing, 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.


Queen Elizabeth TA Listings Page Image

Ship: Queen Elizabeth

When: June, 2021.

Itineraries: Southampton, offering ten departures; four of these will offer ports of call, including Liverpool, Greenock, Invergordon, Belfast, and Newcastle. A maiden call for the Cunard fleet will be made in Holyhead, Wales.

Requirements: All passengers must be fully vaccinated at least seven days before boarding.

P&O Cruises

Britannia TA Listings Page Image

Ship: Britannia, Iona

When: June 27, August 7 (Iona)

Itineraries: Southampton, offering round-trip short breaks on Britannia and week-long cruises on Iona until September 19, 2021.

Requirements: All passengers must be fully vaccinated at least seven days before boarding.

Saga Cruises

Saga Cruises Spirit of Adventure Arrives in Tilbury

Ship: Spirit of Discovery, Spirit of Adventure

When: June 27, July 26 (Spirit of Adventure)

Itineraries: Four itineraries, all round-trip from Tilbury (except Spirit of Adventure): Scottish Highlands and Islands on June 27th, 2021 aboard Spirit of Discovery for six nights calling at Lerwick on the Shetland Islands, followed by Scrabster and Invergordon. Great British Isles Adventure departing on July 11th, 2021 aboard Spirit of Discovery for 14 nights, calling at Falmouth, Holyhead, Belfast, Greenock, Ullapool, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Newhaven and Newcastle. From the Northern Isles to the Fjords aboard Spirit of Discovery on July 3, 2021 or July 25, 2021 for six nights, calling at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, cruising Sognefjord in Norway, Lerwick in the Shetland Islands and Stornoway followed by Scrabster in Scotland and The Inaugural Cruise on Spirit of Adventure on July 26th for 15 nights and heading to Newcastle, Newhaven, Dundee, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Ullapool, Cruise St Kilda, Greenock, Belfast, Douglas, Holyhead, Bristol and Falmouth before disembarking in Dover.

Requirements: All passengers must be fully vaccinated with both doses.

Celebrity Cruises

The Aqua Class Cabin on Celebrity Silhouette

Ship: Celebrity Silhouette

When: July 3, 2021.

Itineraries: Southampton, offering six- to eight-night cruises which will include port calls in Portland, Liverpool, Inverness, Kirkwall and Glasgow.

Requirements: All over-18s fully vaccinated. Under 18s must show proof of a negative PCR test.


Skip  M S  Maud  H G R 143033   Foto  Photo  Competition  J P G

Ship: MS Maud

When: July 4, 2021.

Itineraries: There are six domestic UK voyages setting sail this summer on MS Maud from Dover, from July 4; two 12-night Remote Islands, Natural Wonders and Diverse Coastline itineraries. The sailings will call at Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland’s largest seabird colony, plus the Isle of Iona, St. Kilda, Islay, Isle of Man and the Isles of Scilly, among others. And four 15-day itineraries calling in at the Isles of Iona, Holyhead, Isles of Scilly, and Fowey.

Requirements: Testing will be a requirement (up to 72 hours before departure) with passengers required to show a negative Covid-19 result before embarking. Hurtigruten has not stated that passengers will need to be Covid-19 vaccinated to sail.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines


Ship: Borealis, Bolette.

When: July 5, August 16.

Itineraries: Liverpool on Borealis on a three-night scenic maiden voyage and Bolette on a three-night maiden voyage from Dover on August 16.

Requirements: Vaccinations not required; other health requirements tbd.

Royal Caribbean

Anthem of the Seas

Ship: Anthem of the Seas

When: July 7.

Itineraries: A combination of four-night "Ocean Getaways" from Southampton in early July and five- to eight-night British Isles cruises, starting 15th July, that include ports stops in Liverpool, Kirkwall, Scotland and Belfast.

Requirements: All crew and over-18s fully vaccinated. Under 18s must show proof of a negative PCR test.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Magic (Photo: Disney Cruise Line)

Ship: Disney Magic

When: July 15.

Itineraries: Southampton, Tilbury, Newcastle and LIverpool offering two-, three- and four-night cruises.

Requirements: Adults over 18 must be fully vaccinated. Under 18s must show a negative PCR test.

Princess Cruises

Sky Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

Ships: Regal Princess, Sky Princess

When: July 31

Itineraries: Southampton, offering 22 "Summer Seacation" short-break and week-long cruises, with ports-of-call including Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock until September 23, 2021.

Requirements: All passengers and crew must be fully vaccinated.

Virgin Voyages

Scarlet  Lady  Cruise  Critic  Inline  Deal 1

Ship: Scarlet Lady

When: August 6

Itineraries: Two-, three- and four-night itineraries departing Portsmouth between August 6 and August 27, 2021.

Requirements: All passengers and crew must be fully vaccinated.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas Splendor (Photo: Regent Seven Seas)

Ship: Regent Seven Seas Splendor

When: September 11, 2021.

Itineraries: 11-night voyage, round-trip from Southampton, England visiting Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Requirements: All passengers must be fully vaccinated at least seven days before boarding.

River Cruise Lines

English Holiday Cruises

Edward  Elgar

Ship: Edward Elgar

When: May 17, 2021.

Itineraries: Two- to six-nights along the River Severn.

Requirements: Negative test prior to boarding.

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