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14 JUNE 2021


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Article from BTNews 14 JUNE 2021

Scots ban cruise ship

Holyrood last Wednesday (9 June 2021) banned the Italian cruise liner MSC Virtuosa from visiting Greenock, outside Glasgow, hours before she was due to arrive.  On board were 1,000 passengers, all British, who had embarked at Southampton.  All had met the cruise line’s stringent embarkation requirements regarding the pandemic.

The port is currently level 1 in the Scottish lockdown system which means cafés, pubs and restaurants can open for business plus gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools, tourist accommodation and all visitor attractions.

Scottish passengers were due to join the cruise in Greenock and an anticipated third of the current holidaymakers were expected to go ashore for excursions.

Joanne Dooey, President of The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) said: “We’re now facing the situation where Scottish passengers who joined the cruise in Liverpool are barred from setting foot in their own country.  The Scottish Government has effectively closed the country’s borders to anything other than road travel. The irony is that any of these passengers can get in a car and drive from Southampton (or anywhere else in England or Wales) to Inverclyde (Greenock) with no testing, border control or vaccinations.”

Jacqueline Dobson, President of Barrhead Travel, Glasgow, said: “It is unsustainable for the Scottish Government to continue to make announcements without constructive consultation with key industry partners when these decisions have such a profound impact on business.”

Virtuosa was forced to nightstop at Liverpool and is now back at Southampton (as of Friday morning 11 June) and will depart Saturday on a three night cruise to Merseyside and a further nine night "seavacation" before returning to Southampton.  Scotland is not now in MSC’s itinerary for the current series of UK port visits.



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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

John Richmond, Lochwinnoch United Kingdom

There is no logic whatsoever in the way the Scottish goverment deals with visitors to and from Scotland.T he !st ministers latest daft idea to ban traffic to and from Manchester is unbelievable. Totally unworkable.

Paul Kay, London, UK

..." Listen, this was originally a 5 Star gourmet cruise to the Italian Riviera on this luxury Italian cruise liner here....but as what happens to all of us at sometime, they got kicked out of Glasgow and ended up in a one night out only in 'Bizzy' Liverpool....now that's what I call a really a top of the range luxury cruise holiday"...

Allan Schoenherr, Prague, CZ

Is Boris doing any better though? Whilst the rest of Europe starts to open up, with sensible restrictions, the UK continues with its bizarre system of blocking everyone but not blocking them enough to stop the new variant spreading. And the cost of visiting/returning to the UK is astronomical compared to other countries where a lot of testing is free or reasonably priced. It is almost as if someone wants to make money out of this??

Peter SMART, United Kingdom

Another nail in the coffin of Scotland's tourist industry. Yet today 12000 Scottish football fans will be permitted into Hampden Park to watch Scotland v Czechia, and another 6000 in the fan zone, with drinks service to table. Logic? There is none.

James O\'brien, Edinburgh

I don’t think M/S Sturgeon will now be welcome on a cruise ship. Would she be made to ‘walk the plank’.

Susan Small, Manchester

Once this is all over surely the question of who comes into the United Kingdom must to left to HM’s Prime Minister and not the devolved governments.

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