Cruises have been off limits to Britons since earlier this year, and it seems this won’t be changing any time soon. But today the FCO confirmed that a holiday on the water may not be entirely out of bounds. The Foreign Office confirmed that river cruises will not be covered by their current cruise ship travel advice.
The updated advice clearly defines that a cruise ship holiday means “staying overnight for at least one night on a sea-going cruise ship with people from multiple households.”
The FCO website adds: “The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against cruise ship travel at this time.
“This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.”
It continued: “Our advice against cruises applies to international travel on a ship that is exclusively for pleasure or recreation, providing overnight accommodation and other leisure facilities such as entertainment venues or swimming pools.
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Cruise: “The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against cruise ship travel at this time”
“Our advice does not include ferries or privately-rented boats.
“The government will continue to review its cruise ship travel advice based on the latest medical advice.”
Voyages on rivers are generally viewed differently to ocean cruises.
River cruises are seen as being low risk as they have shorter itineraries, sail to only one or two countries with fewer passengers on board.
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Cruises around Britain may also be exempt from the FCO advice.
The advice clearly states that cruise ship holidays refer to “international travel on a ship”.
This means that any summer voyages around the British Isles could be given the go-ahead.
The news has been welcomed by river cruise specialists.
Cruise: “We are delighted that the FCO have clarified their advice”
Phil Hullah, chief executive of Riviera Travel explained that the move is good news for Britons.
He said: “We are delighted that the FCO have clarified their advice.
“River cruises are safe. This is a victory for common sense, but more importantly is good news for the great British travelling public.
“Riviera Travel plans to only operate within FCO ‘safe countries’ such as France and Germany, and where the customer experience is safe and exceptional with our expert local guides and tour managers.”
He added that Riviera Travel is looking at resuming some of its river boat cruises for the end of the summer before the end of the school holidays.
International travel post-lockdown
He continued: “For now at least, the world is quieter and less crowded and with smaller tour groups and venues limiting the numbers of people allowed in to particular sites, the holiday experience is likely to be bespoke and intimate.
“We’re sanitising the ships not the holiday experience.
“Riviera Travel has been working on plans to resume a limited number of river boat cruises at the end of August.
“Our brand new five-star river cruise ships were designed to be more spacious, but we’ll go further by halving group excursion numbers and implement an even more scrupulous cleaning regime.
“We have methodically assessed every aspect of each tour, excursion and cruise.
“Customers will enjoy a great holiday safe in the knowledge that we operate to the highest national and international standards.”