Princess Cruises will offer a series of short UK sailings this summer, becoming the latest line to launch new British Isles options in preparation for ocean cruising to restart.
Previously scheduled itineraries onboard Sky Princess, Regal Princess and Island Princess through to 25 September have been cancelled, with Regal and Sky now being used to offer “short breaks and week-long holidays” from Southampton in late summer.
Princess joins fellow Carnival brand P&O Cruises in amending its summer 2021 programme to sail around the UK. Cruises are available to British guests only and will go on sale later this month.
Tony Roberts, vice-president Princess Cruises UK and Europe, said he and his team “share in the disappointment” over having to cancel sailings but added how the government’s recent roadmap announcement had “given us all optimism that we will be able to have a summer break”.
“When restrictions are lifted, it is clear that holidays in the UK will be the first to restart before the gradual return of international travel. We are eager to welcome our guests back onboard as soon as it is safe to do so,” he said.
“By offering a series of short UK breaks, we can provide guests with a relaxed holiday at sea so they can enjoy a much-needed getaway.”
Regal and Sky will use the line’s wearable OceanMedallion technology to support new health protocols such as “streamlined” check-in, “simplified” safety training, reductions in queuing and the ability for guests to order food and drink to anywhere on the ship, aiding social distancing.
“As we prepare our ships for our return to service, we remain in close contact with Clia, the UK government and associated bodies to monitor the latest travel guidance,” said Roberts.
“More details of dates, itineraries and prices for the new UK cruises will be announced later this month. We look forward to welcoming our guests back onboard to create summertime memories in a safe and relaxed environment.”
Princess’s Book with Confidence policy, for bookings made by 30 April, allows guests to cancel up to 30 days prior to sailing for voyages departing through 31 October and receive cancellation fees back as a future cruise credit.
For guests booked on a cancelled voyage, Princess will offer to move guests to the equivalent cruise in 2022. The rebooking process will protect the guests’ 2021 fare on their 2022 voyage.
Alternatively, guests can choose a future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare paid, plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 10% of the cruise fare paid (minimum £25) or a full refund to the original form of payment.
Commission earned by travel agents from cancelled 2021 sailings will be transferred to new bookings in 2022 that was paid in full “in recognition of the critical role” agents play in its business and success, Princess said.
“We are extremely appreciative of the unwavering support from our trade partners and would like to thank them for their continued understanding and cooperation,” added Roberts.
For guests currently booked on a cancelled voyage where there is no matched cruise available in 2022, guests will automatically receive a refundable future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 10% of the cruise fare paid (minimum £25).
Guests can alternatively request a full refund, which must be received through Princess’s online form by 15 April, or guests will automatically receive the FCC option.
FCCs can be used on any cruises booked by and sailing by 31 December 2022.