The cruise industry could be given the green light to restart as early as January, under plans being discussed by ministers.
The Foreign Office issued blanket advice against all cruise ship travel back in July.
According to The Daily Mail, ministers initially discussed industry claims that ships could quickly be made safe. However, following work on improved medical procedures, discussions about a phased restart for the industry are now said to be at an advanced stage.
The phased restart could mean cruise lines start operating “domestic” cruises around the UK from January. If these trials are successful, a wider lifting of the ban will be introduced over the following months. However, reports said that operators would be responsible for repatriating guests in the event of an outbreak on board.
A Whitehall source was quoted as saying: “We are working on a framework to allow the industry to reopen safely early in the new year.
“That will allow cruises to restart and enable bookings to take place to start bringing money into the industry again.
“We need to be sure that ships have the right infection control measures in place, the right testing regime and the right facilities to allow them to contain an outbreak.
“In terms of foreign cruises we will need an acceptance that operators have to take responsibility for repatriating their passengers.”