Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said in yesterday’s press briefing: “We are still in a zone of great uncertainty about what the virus will do next.
“On top of that, many of the vaccination programmes in Europe, which is a place where we frequently go on holiday abroad are running behind ours.”
“Clearly, whether we can go on holiday abroad to places such as Europe, depends upon what other countries will say and do in terms of foreign tourists.”
The expert added: “I would just say that there has to be great uncertainty.”
“Life can, we hope, slowly return to some semblance of our previous normality as hospitality opens up and summer holidays can be booked with confidence.
“Whilst holidays here in the UK will be the first to become a reality we will, of course, gradually see the return of international travel but first we want guests to be able to enjoy a proper summer holiday at sea with the best in relaxation, entertainment and dining choice.
“These sailings will leave from our home port in Southampton and sail around UK coastal waters enjoying the summer sunshine.
“More details of dates, prices and the experience onboard will be announced later this month, but they will, of course, all have flexibility so guests can book with confidence.”
“There really will be something for everyone and the opportunity to spend precious and much-longed-for time with family and friends.
“In order to offer these UK breaks it does mean that unfortunately, we need to cancel some of our current published programme of holidays this summer.”
Ludlow explained that ships would be setting sail when travel restrictions were lifted and that P&O is closely monitoring the situation.
“Cruises on Arcadia, Aurora, Azura and Ventura have been cancelled until the end of August and on Britannia and Iona until the end of September,” he said.
“From the moment we see travel restrictions lifting we will begin the significant logistical task to re-start our operations.
“It will take some time for the first ship to return to service, followed by the phased return of the remaining fleet.
“We cannot wait to welcome everyone back on board with the protection of effective protocols to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all crew and guests.
“I really am so sorry for the disappointment these cancellations will cause but hope that the new UK cruises will enable everyone to enjoy a wonderful holiday this summer.”