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Foreign Office Steps up Advice on Cruise Holidays

The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) is now advising all UK holidaymakers to not travel on cruise holidays. This was then amended to all ocean-faring cruises. The ban is indefinite with no end date, so what does that mean? For your cruise holidays? Will there be refunds? We know you have a lot of questions so this blog will offer answers for the most important questions. 

What is the cruise holiday ban?

“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.

Cruise ship travel means staying overnight for at least 1 night on a sea-going cruise ship with people from multiple households.

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.”

Our advice does not include ferries or privately-rented boats.” Read full advice

What does the cruise holiday ban mean?

Indefinitely UK travellers are advised not to travel on ocean-cruises departing from the UK or internationally. It’s important to note that while many cruise lines have voluntarily suspended cruises, if this changes and cruises are relaunched before the FCO advice is lifted, your sailing will not be covered with travel insurance or financially protected. If you decide to travel while this ban is in place, all financial responsibility lies with you.

After pleas from the industry a few days ago the advice was cleared to not include river cruises. River cruise lines have promised to only operate in ‘safe’ countries. On July 16, the FCO revised its advice once again and gave the green light to river cruises, which are considered lower risk than their ocean counterparts, due to shorter itineraries and fewer passengers on board, meaning new health and safety protocols are easier to manage.

What happens next with my cruise?

If you have a cruise booked in 2020, and you’re not sure what to do. The first piece of advice I have is to speak to your travel agent or cruise line directly. Each cruise line has suspended their sailings to different dates, with different policies on cancellation and amendments. 

If you have questions about your cruise holiday, whether you’ve booked with Strawberry Holidays or not, then get in touch

What are my rights about my cruise holiday?

When your trip is cancelled, your cruise operator should offer the choice of an alternative or a refund. Many cruise lines are offering additional cruise credit for amending your cruise rather than cancelling it. Some are offering “lift and shift”, take the same sailing on new dates, and take all the offers (and price if possible) with you. 

When will we be able to go on a cruise?

Ships have been left to float empty when they should have been full of people enjoying holidays at sea. And while many countries are beginning to open up to tourism – and Europe is seeing a slow resumption of cruising – many lines continue to delay their returns. If you’re hoping to sail, here are the key dates for when cruise lines will sail again.

When will river cruise lines restart?

AmaWaterways – proposed restart date 16 September 2020
Avalon Waterways – proposed restart date 1 October
Riviera Travel – proposed restart date 16 August
Tauck River Cruises – proposed restart date 1 August
Uniworld – proposed restart date 16 August
Viking – proposed restart date 1 October 

When will ocean cruise lines restart?

Crystal Cruises – proposed restart dates 2 September (ocean), 1 October (river) and 1 November (yacht)
Cunard – proposed restart date 1 November
Disney Cruise Line – proposed restart date 15 September
Holland America Line – proposed restart date mid-November
MSC Cruises – proposed restart 15 August
Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises – proposed restart date 1 October
P&O Cruises  – proposed restart date 16 October
Princess Cruises – proposed restart in autumn
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd – proposed restart date 1 October
Saga – proposed restart date 1 September
Seabourn – proposed restart dates 13 October – 20 November
Silversea – proposed restart date from 5 September
Virgin Voyages – proposed restart date 16 October 

If you have questions about your cruise holiday, whether you’ve booked with Strawberry Holidays or not, then get in touch

Want to know which cruise line would be for you? Check out our cruise bot quiz to help!


About the Author
I’m a personal travel agent turning mediocre holidays into magnificent ones. The personal service takes away all the hassle, and even includes 24/7 assistance while you’re abroad. I exclusively and expertly organise tours & cruises to USA, Australia, Italy, Greece and Disney Destinations. We start with your own personalised holiday website - would you like to get started?