United Kingdom

Tide of bookings after cruises comeback: Families flock to make reservations on liners

Bookings for ocean cruises and transatlantic flights have surged following the relaxation of travel restrictions.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced fully vaccinated travellers from amber countries will not have to quarantine.

It means from Monday, liners will be able to take passengers to foreign destinations for the first time in more than a year.

To meet the pent-up demand, Viking Cruises has opened up bookings for three years and launched expeditions across the globe including river cruises on the Mekong in Vietnam, the Nile in Egypt and the Mississippi in America.

P&O Cruises and Cunard announced international travel dates after being inundated with requests. 

From Monday, liners will be able to take passengers to foreign destinations for the first time in more than a year. A cruise ship is seen in Venice in 2019

Meanwhile demand for flights from the US to the UK has surged since the Government announced the scrapping of the quarantine requirement for fully jabbed travellers from America.

Virgin Atlantic said it had more than three times as many bookings for New York to London flights compared with a week earlier.

The reopening of Britain’s borders is a major boast to the cruise industry, which has suffered a worldwide loss of £36billion and 334,000 jobs since March 2020.

The sector was shut down at the start of the pandemic and the Foreign Office had to repatriate some 19,000 Britons on 60 cruise ships hit by Covid outbreaks. After 14 months, domestic cruises have been permitted since May 17.

But it is the reintroduction of international cruising that may save the industry.

The Foreign Office has removed its advice against cruise travel and operators said they will pay to repatriate passengers if necessary. Tom McAlpin, boss of Virgin Voyages, said: ‘This is tremendous news for UK cruising.

‘It’s been a long, challenging 18 months, and not only are people ready to travel again, they’re ready to do it in style – and importantly – in the safest way possible.’

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