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P&O resumes cruises – for vaccinated passengers only

Written by: Emma Lunn
P&O Cruises will be setting sail for a series of short cruises around the British Isles from June – but only for passengers who have had both coronavirus jabs.

The Britannia will cruise from Southampton along the south coast of England for three or four days; the Iona will travel up to Scotland from Southampton for seven-day trips.

Both cruise ships will only accept vaccinated UK residents only. More details of dates and prices of the cruises will be announced later this month.

P&O says that for these cruises the definition of ‘vaccinated’ is a minimum of seven days following the second dose of the currently approved Covid-19 vaccines being administered.

Proof of vaccination and the dates given will be required and this will be required to be shown at the terminal prior to boarding. The approved forms of evidence will be confirmed closer to time of departure. Failure to provide this evidence will result in denial of boarding.

All other P&O Cruises holidays on sale for later in the year do not currently require guests to be vaccinated.

An update on the P&O website said: “As the vaccine roll out progresses and the government has announced its intended roadmap for the future, the guidance is continually evolving. Pre-embarkation Covid-19 tests may be required as part of our framework of protocols and will be complimentary in the price of your holiday.”

P&O says it will also refuse bookings from guests with certain medical needs. These include passengers who need supplementary oxygen, mechanical ventilatory support (except for overnight CPAP for sleep apnoea) and dialysis. Anyone with a cruise booking who has these medical needs can get a full refund.

Paul Ludlow, P&O Cruises president, said: “Following recent government announcements and as the vaccine programme is rolled out across the globe we can all begin to feel a sense of reassurance and hope that this current lockdown period in the UK will come to an end. 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.”

The move comes as the government starts collecting views on how a domestic ‘vaccine passport’ scheme might work.

A scheme for domestic Covid certification would likely be separate to international schemes for vaccine passports. Some countries, such as Cyprus, have already said vaccinated Brits could enter free of restrictions.

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