According to Saga Travel’s CEO, the Foreign Office’s advisory against overseas cruising would be revoked by the end of the month.
Nick Stace, who spoke at the naming ceremony of the new ship Spirit of Adventure in Portsmouth, said the industry had complied with government demands to enable cruising in international seas.
Stace, who has worked closely with Clia in its ministerial negotiations, believes that those commitments will result in a favorable outcome in a major meeting this week.
According to Stace, who spoke to Travel Weekly: “Firstly, government wanted a memorandum of understanding signed, that if there is a future pandemic, or this pandemic goes on for some time, that all the repatriation will come at the cost of the cruise sector.
“This is what we did anyway, but they wanted an MOU signed and that happened last week. So that was one of the hurdles.”
“Secondly, government needed a body of evidence that the cruise industry is committed to reporting on cases on board and since May 17 we now have 49,000 passenger journeys recorded,” he added.
“That decision is due to be taken by a committee chaired by aviation minister Robert Courts 10 days prior to that date, so on July 21, in two days’ time,” he said, adding that he was confident the guideline would be lifted from July 31.
When asked if Saga planned to start sailing globally as soon as the restrictions were lifted, Stace responded, “As soon as the restrictions are lifted” he said: “No. We will continue our British Isles cruises for August, but we will start from September.
“We could have gambled, but we wanted to make sure we had a little bit of flex in the timetable in case anything slips a week – there’s history of that.
“One of the reasons that we have been reasonably successful through this pandemic is that we’ve always stayed ahead of the government.”
From September onwards, the company plans to offer sailings to the Canary Islands, Italy, and the Norwegian Fjords, according to Stace.
Book by: Oct 31st 2021
Book by: Oct 31st 2021
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