The Department for Transport has published new guidance for domestic cruise travel – confirming a figure for initial capacity limits and details around how some Covid social restrictions will apply onboard.
Sailings within English waters will resume from 17 May – with MSC’s Virtuosa set to become the first ship to cruise when the line restarts operations from Southampton on 20 May.
Under guidance laid out by the DfT on Friday (23 April), ships will initially only be able to operate with “up to 1,000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is lower” not including crew.
While onboard, groups of more than six passengers or two households will not be allowed to mix indoors, “whether or not they originally booked in the same group”, the DfT said.
By 21 June – under stage four of the government’s planned roadmap – all legal limits on social contact will be lifted, which the DfT confirmed would include lifting capacity limits for cruises.
However, the DfT said Foreign Office advice against “international sea-going cruise travel” remained in place.
Earlier this month the Global Travel Taskforce report said international cruising would return alongside the government’s wider restart for overseas travel and follow its planned “traffic light” system.
A “risk-based approach” to managing the safe restart of international voyages will be put in place “underpinned by analytical evidence”, the DfT stated in the report released on 9 April.
Its return is subject to “continued satisfactory evidence” from the sector’s domestic restart, as well as “successful cruise operations elsewhere in the world”.