P&O Cruises cancelled swathes of summer cruises today, in the latest cruise news. International cruises will now not return until autumn. P&O Cruises is offering a series of short break and week-long UK cruises instead.
While the roadmap details the date for the return of jet-setting as May 17, there is still much uncertainty about when foreign travel can really go ahead.
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.”
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said today in a statement: “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.
“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.”
Ludlow went on: “We hope that the UK ‘ultimate escape’ staycation option will have wide appeal and we will do our utmost to make it a very special time.
“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.
“We remain in very close contact with the UK Government and associated bodies as we monitor the latest situation and guidance on travel.
“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.”