Cruises: Expert hopeful for 'July' return of holidays
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P&O Cruises has provided a boost for cruise lovers with the news of a brand new itinerary to launch from UK ports in time for summer. However, there is a catch – only Britons who have received their doses of the COVID-19 jab will be permitted to travel.
The Southhampton-based cruise line is launching a series of short breaks and week-long journeys onboard the flagship Britannia ship and new vessel Iona.
Cruises will depart from Southampton between June and September, with the aim of seeking out the spots here “the sun shines brightest”.
Britannia will offer three and four-night breaks and one six-night holiday running from June 27, 2021, through to September 19, 2021.
Iona offers seven-night itineraries running from August 7, 2021, to September 18, 2021. Prices start from £449 per person for a three-night break on Britannia.
Iona’s seven-night maiden voyage starts from £1,199 per person.
However, Britons will only be allowed to board if they can provide evidence they have received both doses of their coronavirus vaccination.
Travel insurance will also be mandatory for all guests.
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For added peace of mind, P&O assures all guests and staff will be required to follow “enhanced” health and wellbeing measures.
“These have been developed with guidance from our global medical and public health experts and scientists and in close coordination with UK government agencies,” states the cruise line.
“These protocols include enhanced sanitation measures, appropriate social distancing and the wearing of masks in certain areas of the ship.”
The crew will also undergo a strict testing and quarantine regime as well as regular testing during their time onboard.
While taking in the surrounding views, guests will also be able to enjoy an array of dining and drink options onboard, as well as shopping, spa treatments and entertainment including live performances.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Given recent announcements, we have every hope that our guests will be able to enjoy a holiday this summer.
“After the stresses and challenges of the past year, everyone certainly deserves a treat and this series of cruises will
provide memorable and much needed UK getaways.
“Whilst there is still uncertainty about holidays abroad this summer, we are delighted to be able to offer our guests the ultimate escape here in the UK with the reassurance that we will take care of everything.
“Also, we really will look at the weather forecast for each cruise and aim to take our ships where it is warm and sunny.
“As the start of Iona’s very special maiden season, the new Ultimate Escape series of holidays includes a memorable seven-night maiden voyage sailing around the Scottish islands.
“Iona will anchor off Iona, the island after which she was named, with a celebratory extended stay until sunset for magical views of the historic shores.”
The cruises will form P&O’s official return to sailing.
According to a statement on the company website, sailings onboard “Arcadia, Aurora, Azura and Ventura have been cancelled until the end of August 2021 and on Britannia and Iona until the end of September 2021” with the exception of the UK cruises.
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