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Article from BTNews 7 SEPTEMBER 2020


Very sad to say this is very much a non-cruise cruise issue.  Whilst all the operators issue dates for 2021, with some very attractive offers, in truth nobody knows when deep sea cruising will begin although there are exceptions.  Plenty of news but no actual cruising except BTN on Edward Elgar. See ON TOUR Cruise the Severn Seas.  For a full update go to Cruise Lines on the Web to check.

  On Wednesday 16 September Andy Harmer, Director CLIA UK & Ireland, plans a Webinar update on the industry. As we stand the Foreign Office advises against any overseas deep sea cruising. www.cruising.org

If you are looking for a future cruise, view the Business Travel News cruise listing and check directly with the cruise line.

MSC Grandiosa is representative of the mega ships that dominate the industry.  The  ship is on a series of post Covid-19 cruises.  The industry is watching.  Based in Genoa she is currently docked at her home port having just completed a series of three successful 7-night voyages calling at Civitavecchia for Rome, Naples, Palermo and Valletta. A requirement is that all passengers test negative for Covid-19 before boarding, and a rule that they can only leave the ship in ports when on a cruise-line organized shore excursion.  You need to be an Schengen country citizen to make a booking.  On board MSC have gone to great lengths to ensure the ship is “medically fit”.  www.msc.com

On another positive note Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has unveiled its plans put three of the fleet ‘back in the water’ in March and April 2021, with Balmoral hopefully even sooner. Announced in mid-August the company’s two new ships, Bolette and Borealis (the former Holland-America Amsterdam and Rotterdam) will take on the existing itineraries for Boudicca and Black Watch, as well as offer some new sailings alongside Braemar. Bolette’s maiden voyage will be a seven-night ‘Scotland & Northern Ireland’ cruise, setting sail from Southampton on 5th March 2021.   www.fredolsencruises.com

Saga still says 5 November for the brand new Spirit of Adventure (see BTN 3 August) and 16 December Spirit of Discovery.  https://travel.saga.co.uk/cruises.aspx

Carnival Group (read Cunard, P&O and Princess for the UK market) is making noises for dates into 2021 but when we see the ships leave Weymouth and not return we will know things have started again.  In the meantime, Ioana sits in Bremerhaven waiting to cross the Channel.  www.carnival.com

Business Travel News would like to see Queen Mary 2 circumnavigate the UK, flying the flag for cruising and visiting new ports such as Dover, Tilbury, along the East Coast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool (where it could meet Queen Elizabeth coming the other way), and anchoring  off St Mary’s Isles of Scilly – weather permitting. Plymouth, Portland and Guernsey too.  What a way to show that cruising is back in business. www.cunard.com

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against overseas sea-going cruise ship travel at this time. www.gov.uk/guidance/cruise-ship-travel

For UK-based cruise fans desperate for a trip on water can be made with English Holiday Cruises Edward Elgar on the River Severn (See ON TOUR in this week’s BTN) and European Waterways Spirit of Scotland and its sister barge Scottish Highlander) on Scotland’s fabled Caledonian Canal. https://river.englishholidaycruises.co.uk   www.europeanwaterways.com

Majestic Lines, with its four small cruise ships is also now back in action from its home base in the Holy Loch on the Clyde. www.themajesticline.co.uk

Hebridean has taken on the elegant Lord of the Glens for 2021 complementing  the long-established Hebridean Princess which BTN sampled 20 years ago.  

The four-deck “Glens” has 27 passenger cabins and will sail the intricate waters of Scotland's Caledonian Canal with its many locks, as well as the sheltered waters and lochs around the beautiful west coast.

Roger Allard, Chairman of Hebridean Island Cruises said: "The Lord of the Glens is a very appealing vessel and a perfect fit for our portfolio and existing customer demographic. 'Small is beautiful' is the Hebridean Island Cruises' mantra and the Lord of the Glens can certainly boast of that accolade." www.hebridean.co.uk

CMV which went into administration last month, could be relaunched by the line's former boss Christian Verhounig.  His CVI Group Ltd has purchased the assets from administrator Duff & Phelps. These include the customer databases, computer systems including websites and booking systems, office furniture and equipment, IT infrastructure, intellectual property and motor vehicles.

Verhounig said: “Having developed a much-loved brand over the past decade and hugely popular value-based niche no-fly cruise product, we have been simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and pleased to relaunch the business.

“The acquisition of the UK commercial assets provides a positive first step and we believe demonstrates our firm commitment and optimism to return much stronger and to work alongside our loyal suppliers and creditors to also help mitigate the pandemic impact.” www.cruiseandmaritime.com
When it comes to river cruises AMA have been active with some limited European Rhine trips personified by this video.  Even if your interest is deep sea cruising it is worthwhile viewing, showing just what AMA is doing in order to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. Expect an announcement for a November/December programme.  www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=K-GGpfTgjQU&feature=emb_logo

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