Cruise: Loophole to FCO ban could see Britons enjoying a holiday at sea

Cruise holidays have suffered immensely amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continuing to ban Britons from heading on cruise holidays. However, for those keen to return to the sea there could be a loophole.


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The FCO is not currently advising against ferries, with many firms jumping on the opportunity to advertise overnight stays in UK waters.

Brittany Ferries are amongst those who are offering overnight stays on ships, with a reduced number of passengers in order to ensure social distancing guidelines are met.

The FCO advice on cruise holidays explains: “We continue to advise against non-essential international travel, except to countries and territories listed. We also currently advise against cruise ship travel.”

However, in the wake of this, ferry companies offering socially distant experiences in the UK have recorded a surge in bookings.

Stena Line, which serves the UK and Ireland as part of its European offering, reported its best booking week for passenger travel in July and August.

“2020 looks like it will be the year of the staycation or as we say the year of the car-cation, and we are fully prepared to help our guests max out safely on their enjoyment and relaxation, as soon as they board our ships,” said Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Trade Director.

He added that the company was upping cleaning and social distancing elements to ensure safe travel for those who still hope to sail.

In the UK, the ferry line offers routes from Belfast to Cairnryan and Liverpool, Dublin to Holyhead, and Rosslare to Fishguard.

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Emma Batchelor, director of Discover Ferries, added: “From day trips and staycations to European breaks, not only does ferry travel give passengers that feeling of escape but it offers a broad range of destinations where social distancing comes naturally.”

DFDS Ferries also continues to operate ferry schedules across Europe.

In the UK, the firm is still offering travel between Newcastle and Amsterdam from July 15, as well as ongoing routes between Dover and Calais, Dover and Dunkirk, and Newhaven and Dieppe.

Face masks, however, are a mandatory requirement on French routes.


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The firm explains: “Due to French medical association requirements, the wearing of face masks is now compulsory for all passengers travelling on our routes between UK and France.”

Furthermore, DFDS has implemented a number of new measures to ensure passenger and crew safety.

It explains: “As our guests’ safety and security are of the highest priority, we have, in line with WHO’s recommendations, introduced measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19, as well as the regular flu viruses that flourish each year.

“Information is provided to all passengers about hygiene procedures and precautions to prevent the spread of infection.

“Hand sanitiser dispensers are installed everywhere on the ship for our passengers to use.

“The ship has established procedures for any passengers who contract the virus, including quarantine measures.

“The ships’ crew is subject to strict measures and hygiene requirements.

“The ships carry a stock of masks to limit the spread of infection if the need should arise.”

It adds that all touch points are thoroughly cleaned throughout the journey.

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