Report says ‘critical that we proceed cautiously and are mindful of the public health risks’
The UK government has published its full Global Travel Taskforce report, which explores the return of cruise.
The report says that since then there has been a significant rise in Covid-19 cases in the UK and abroad, now is not the right time to see the resumption of cruise. However, the report reveals that is has been proposed by Public Health England that it may be appropriate to resume cruises when the national alert level is at level 3 and when a move to level 2 is being considered by the Chief Medical Officer.
The report says that: “It is critical that we proceed cautiously and are mindful of the public health risks as we consider when it is safe to restart cruises, and whether it is safe to move between stages. The protection of public health must come first, while enabling economic recovery and the growth of the sector.
“We need to ensure that there are clear public health measures so that we can increase demand for cruises safely. However, it is also vital that we provide clarity on the conditions for cruise restart to enable the sector to undertake effective financial forecasting for their businesses (and ensure financial viability); communicate with clarity to their crew, supporting travel supply chain and customers; secure future bookings for 2021 and beyond; and plan for operational restart.”
It recommends publishing the criteria for when cruises can restart and agree to implement the phased approach to restart when the public health advice is that it is safe to do so.
It also notes that FCDO travel advice on cruises is kept under continuous review and that transition between each phase – that is from against cruise to travel to allowing cruise travel – would be subject to agreement by the Department for Transport, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Public Health England, the Foreign Office and other bodies. You can see the full report here.
Meanwhile, a number of cruise lines have extended their suspensions after a public health institute in the US advised against cruising. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. It said this was because the “risk of Covid-19 on cruise ships is very high.”
Holland America Line has announced that it is extending its pause of cruise operations for all departures up until March 31 2021, bringing it in align with Carnival sister brand, Princess Cruises, has also cancelled all cruises through to March 31, 2021
P&O Cruises has extended its pause in operation until April 2021. The line’s president Paul Ludlow said: “With hopeful news headlines clearly we do not want to extend our pause in operations any further than absolutely necessary, but given the ever changing guidance around international travel and the varying regulations in many European ports of call we felt it prudent to cancel these additional dates.