P&O Cruises has released more details of new UK-based itineraries for Britannia and Iona this summer and confirmed all guests must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to sail.
The line’s Ultimate Escape programme sees Britannia offer three- and four-night breaks and one six-night holiday from 27 June to 19 September, while Iona will operate seven-night itineraries running from 7 August to 18 September.
Prices start from £449pp for a three-night Britannia sailing and from £1,199pp for Iona’s seven-night maiden voyage. Cruises go on sale from 23 March.
P&O said that based on the “advanced progress” of the UK’s Covid vaccination roll-out, coupled with “strong expressed preference on the part of our guests”, sailings would only be open to passengers who had received their second Covid vaccination dose at least seven days before departure.
Proof of vaccination and the dates administered will be required and failure to provide the evidence will result in denial of boarding.
Travel insurance will also be mandatory for all guests, with P&O partnering with Holiday Extras to offer cruise-specific cover.
Although there is no age restriction on the itineraries, guests of all ages must meet the requirements of the vaccination policy, P&O stated. All other P&O itineraries currently on sale do not require guests to be vaccinated.
Guests and crew will also need to follow “enhanced health and wellbeing measures” while onboard – including enhanced sanitation measures, social distancing and the wearing of masks in certain areas.
P&O said crew would undergo a “strict testing and quarantine regime” and be regularly tested during their work onboard.
Among the itineraries on offer is the maiden voyage of Iona – the largest ship ever built for the UK market at 5,200 passengers and P&O’s first Excel-class LNG-powered vessel.
Departing Southampton on 7 August, guests will take in a week of coastal cruising to Scotland, including the Inner Hebrides and the island of Iona (pictured).
Guests can also opt for a seven-night sailing onboard Iona, cruising past the Channel Islands and along the coast of France.
Customers are able to transfer their holiday as many times as they like before balance due date - 30 days prior to the departure date of the cruise.
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 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."