The best 2021 British Isles cruises
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The best 2021 British Isles cruises

After over a year of waiting, cruise lines are finally resuming operations with a mini-season of ex-UK itineraries around the British Isles being unveiled.

After over a year of waiting, cruise lines are finally resuming operations with a mini-season of ex-UK itineraries around the British Isles being unveiled. Sam Ballard looks at the options, including vaccination policies. See our restarts list here


For the past year we have been in a position that few would have ever thought possible: cruises have been illegal. Now, finally, thanks to the UK’s successful vaccination programme, we are on the verge of being able to (cautiously) sail out of this mess. In March, a number of cruise lines announced their plans to embark on a short mini-season from the UK and you are likely being inundated with the latest news and offers as more pile in to save their summers. We’ve rounded up the launch dates, vaccination policies and itinerary information below.

Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises has confirmed a series of staycations on board Celebrity Silhouette this summer. The ship has recently undergone an extensive renovation and now boasts new staterooms, public areas and a Retreat for suite guests.

The programme of six to eight-night cruises will begin on July 3, with calls at destinations including Portland, Liverpool and Glasgow. All cruises will also benefit from Celebrity’s new Always Included policy – with tips, drinks and wi-fi included within the cruise fare. Prices start from £1,099 per person.

Vaccination policy: All guests aged 18 and over must be vaccinated against Covid-19, and those under the age of 18 must have a negative PCR test result
Restart date: July 3

Cunard
Cunard is to offer ex-UK voyages this summer on board Queen Elizabeth. The cruises, which will sail from July to October, will feature scenic itineraries, sailings with ports of call and “sun voyages” to “wherever the sun shines brightest”.

Four of the voyages will make various port calls, including Liverpool, Greenock, Invergordon, Belfast and Newcastle, as well as a maiden call for Cunard’s fleet at the Welsh port of Holyhead.

Four-night scenic British Isles Voyages are priced from £599 per person for a Balcony Stateroom, while a 10-night British Isles Voyage will start at £1,299 per person for a Balcony Stateroom. Seven-night Sun Voyages are priced from £899 per person for a Balcony Stateroom.

Vaccination policy: All guests must be vaccinated
Restart date: July 19

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Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line is to offer Disney Magic at Sea staycations from British ports this summer, with Disney Magic sailing two and three-night voyages, as well as a limited number of four-night sailings. The cruises will operate from Liverpool and Southampton and go on sale on April 19.

Vaccination policy: No vaccination required
Restart date: This summer (TBC)

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has unveiled a Welcome Back programme of British Isles cruises that include both scenic voyages and those calling at ports. The programme is made up of 11 cruises, including regional departures from Dover and Liverpool.

Vaccination policy: Not mandatory, but waiting for Global Travel Taskforce to report back
Restart date: July 5

MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises has announced a new programme of British Isles cruises that will be available to both families and non-vaccinated guests on board its new flagship, MSC Virtuosa. The cruises, which began on May 20, will depart from MSC’s new terminal in Southampton and are available to British guests only. A series of short sailings will be followed by a seven-night British Isles cruise.

Vaccination policy: No vaccination necessary, but guests will need to have had a negative test 72 hours before boarding
Restart date: May 20

P&O Cruises
P&O Cruises will offer a series of short break and week-long UK cruises this summer. The sailings, which are on sale now, will be on board Britannia and new ship Iona, including the latter’s maiden call at her namesake island.

Britannia will offer three and four-night breaks and one six-night holiday running from June 27 to September 19. Iona will offer seven-night itineraries running from August 7 to September 18. Prices start from £449 per person for a three night break on BritanniaIona’s seven-night maiden voyage starts from £1,199 per person.

Vaccination policy: All guests must be vaccinated
Restart date: June 27

Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises is to offer Seacations from Southampton this summer. The cruises, which will be on board MedallionClass ships Regal Princess and Sky Princess, will sail from July until late September.

Regal Princess will offer 14 UK voyages running from July 31 to September 23. Sky Princess will offer eight UK cruises, running from August 30 to September 28.

All guests will have the opportunity to make their cruise all-inclusive by selecting the Princess Plus fare, which includes the line’s premium drinks package, unlimited MedallionNet wi-fi and gratuities for £30 per person per day.

All-inclusive fares for a balcony stateroom start from £389pp for a three-night scenic voyage; £599pp for a four-night cruise with up to one port; and £999pp for a seven-night cruise with up to three ports-of-call. Guests can book with a £50 deposit if booked before May 3.

Vaccination policy: All guests must be vaccinated
Restart date: July 31

Riviera Travel
Riviera Travel has announced to the trade that places are available for guests to join its British Isles cruises on new ship Seaventure in July. The cruises mark the first time that Riviera has offered Britain and Ireland-based voyages. The seven-night sailings run between Edinburgh and Glasgow and call at Balmoral Castle, Loch Ness, the Orkney Islands, the Outer Hebrides and Belfast.

Vaccination policy: Guests must either be vaccinated or produce a negative test result
Restart date: July 5

Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean International has revealed that Anthem of the Seas will be sailing out of Southampton this summer, with a season of cruises planned from July 7.

The cruise line will be running four-night Ocean Getaway cruises in early July, followed by five and eight-night British Isles cruises from July 15.

Vaccination policy: All guests aged 18 and over must be vaccinated against Covid-19, and those under the age of 18 must have a negative PCR test result
Restart date: July 7

Saga
Saga Cruises has launched a series of four summer ex-UK itineraries on board Spirit of Discovery and new ship Spirit of Adventure. The cruises include British Isles sailings – including a 14-night departure on July 11 – and a voyage to the Norwegian fjords.

Vaccination policy: All guests must be vaccinated
Restart date: June 27

Tradewind Voyages
Tradewind has announced an Eastern Coastal Contrasts sailing up the east coast of the UK, from Harwich to Leith. The five-night sailing, the inaugural voyage of new ship Golden Horizon – the world’s largest square-rigged sailing vessel – begins on July 1 and includes stops in Whitby, Newcastle and Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Vaccination policy: Not mandatory, but waiting for Global Travel Taskforce to report back
Restart date: July 1

Viking Cruises
Viking has announced that it will restart limited operations in May, with three sailings along the coast of England. The new eight-day itinerary, called England’s Scenic Shoreswill sail round-trip from Portsmouth and be exclusively for UK residents.

The sailings, on May 22, 29 and June 5 will be on Viking’s newest ocean ship, Viking Venus, which will be delivered this month. Viking added two further dates after the first three sold out.

Vaccination policy: All guests must be vaccinated
Restart date: May 22

Virgin Voyages
Virgin Voyages will embark on a short mini-season of cruises from Portsmouth this August. The Summer Soirée Series will consist of three and four-night sailings from August 6, giving UK passengers the chance to be among the first to get on board the new vessel, Scarlet Lady.

Vaccination policy: All guests must be vaccinated
Restart date: August 6

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