Princess Cruises has revealed a series of UK “Seacation” sailings for this summer and confirmed it will apply the same guest vaccination policy as Carnival sister brand P&O.
Regal Princess will offer 14 voyages from 31 July to 23 September, while Sky Princess will operate eight sailings from 30 August until 28 September.
Itineraries, which range from three to seven nights and feature calls to Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock, go on sale at 8am Wednesday (24 March).
Speaking to TTG, Tony Roberts, vice-president UK and Europe, said Princess wanted to give people “the sense they’re able to get away on a proper holiday” amid uncertainties around the return of international leisure travel.
“We’ve all spent so much time at home in the last 12 months and it’s a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and family and have a relaxing time away without feeling like you’re still at home or are restricted," he said. "We hope it’s going to be really appealing to the consumer.”
Echoing P&O’s announcement earlier this week, Princess will only allow guests to sail if they have received their second dose of Covid vaccination at least seven days before departure.
Roberts said he felt it “makes sense” for Princess to align with its sister brand when operating a similar programme this summer.
“We wouldn’t have a different position. I think the policy is in response to what guests are asking for. Given the advanced state of the UK’s vaccine rollout, they’d like to travel with other vaccinated guests. Overwhelmingly that’s what our guests are telling us they would like.”
Roberts explained the policy would stay in place through to the end of September but expressed his hope that Princess could operate its scheduled autumn programme “if we’re able to do so” in October which would not carry the same vaccination rules.
“This policy is very much for the August and September sailings,” sad Roberts.
Roberts also said he expected to commence UK sailings with lower occupancy “and build that up through the summer” as the line adapted to regulations and protocols.
“There might be limitations around things such as social distancing which mean you can’t sail at full occupancy, so we’re not specifying details around [guest] proportions at the moment.
“It needs to be a flexible approach based on what we know now and how things evolve over time, which is why I can’t yet give an absolute numbers answer.”
All guests will have the opportunity to make their Seacation cruise all-inclusive with the line’s Princess Plus fare, which includes premium drinks, unlimited MedallionNet Wi-Fi and gratuities for £30pp per day.
All-inclusive fares for a balcony stateroom start from £539pp for a three-night voyage; £599pp for a four-night cruise with up to one port of call and £999pp for a seven-night cruise with up to three ports of call.
Roberts said he hoped the Seacation programme’s offer of "resort-style holidays" would act as an alternative to traditional UK-based breaks.
“Cruise is always great value but when you compare it to some of the UK staycation options, I think it’s going to look like incredible value.
“It’s going to look really compelling and I imagine that both seasoned cruisers and those who haven’t considered a cruise holiday before, but who just want to get away this summer, will think this is an amazing opportunity to do something different to what they have been looking at.”
The sailings will also allow the line to showcase its OceanMedallion technology, which he said would offer “amazing features in a post-pandemic environment” – such as a touchless embarkation process, keyless stateroom entry and the ability to order food and drink without having to gather in one area or queue up.
“That will really set Princess apart from other holiday options this summer,” said Roberts.