7 JUNE 2021
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WELCOME BACK TO CRUISING
Kay Greenway started in the cruise industry with sales and marketing roles at P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises. This followed an extensive freelance career in other sectors, many of them travel related, with an eventual return to the cruise sector through involvement with Cruise Britain. She has been Director of Cruise Britain since 2012, since when the association has grown to include all the UK ports involved in cruising, with the cruise lines represented on its board.
The first cruises of the 2021 domestic maritime staycation season have cast off. MSC Cruises and Viking Cruises are first of 14 cruise lines off the quay and offering a terrific array of options aboard upwards of 20 different vessels. All those phrases such as ‘there’s a cruise for everybody’ are coming true, right on our doorstep. From short cruises to nowhere with Virgin’s panache or Disney’s sparkle, to explorations of Britain’s coastline and islands with Cunard, Saga, Fred Olsen and Noble Caledonia to name but some. The list isn’t quite endless but it’s really very long and varied.
Cruise Britain, Britain’s leading cruise port and service provider association, has long been extolling both the better-known attractions and the more hidden gems of British Isles cruising to operators large and small. We’ve been talking for years about glorious coastal scenery, panoramic tours, niche expeditions, behind-the-scenes experiences and explorations that bring Britain’s kaleidoscope to life.
Ports such as Tilbury, Dover, Southampton, Newcastle and Liverpool will be welcoming embarking passengers and many more ports from northern Orkney to southern Dartmouth have plans to open their destination to day calls. These cruises are open to UK residents whilst the ships sail to and from UK ports only. Plans are afoot for explorations from Holyhead, Belfast, Portland, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Fishguard, Isle of Man, Fowey…. so many diverse possibilities that many may not have thought of.
The domestic season is the culmination of months of industry work supported by UK Government to create a travel-leading set of protocols for the safe and successful return of cruise. 100% pre-boarding testing, capacity restrictions, a multi-layered approach to on board procedures, carefully planned port operations and shore excursion bubbles are all included.
The industry hopes to see relaxation of some measures as the weeks pass but abides by everything that has been put in place to ensure the health and safety of guests, crew and the communities that the ships visit. Current protocols have been tried and tested by the 400,00 guests that have cruised elsewhere and mitigation procedures are detailed and well-practised.
For added reassurance, the shoreside cruise sector can now apply for Visit Britain’s We’re Good to Go scheme and also the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels kitemark.
And what of international cruise holidays, both incoming and outbound? As this goes to press it is too soon to know when international cruising can become a reality again but watch for developments. International cruise is important for guests who want to travel further afield, to operators who need a way forward for the coming months and also for the ports and supply chain who welcome many overseas guests on their days ashore.
Cruise employs 88,000 people in the UK and is worth £10bn to the UK economy from large ports to tour guides and niche attractions. It’s good to see the industry restart to do what it does best – providing one of the best holiday experiences a traveller will ever have.
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