Maritime minister Robert Courts delivered the “much appreciated news” to the All Party Parliamentary and Ports Group
UK cruise lines will be able to restart domestic sailings from May 17, the maritime minister has told a group of MPs.
Robert Courts was appearing at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Maritime and Ports Group (APPMPG).
On Twitter, the group said he had announced “the reopening of the domestic cruise market in England”.
It added: “From repatriation procedures and risk mitigations to Covid-19 protocols and the domestic vaccination programme, a great APPMPG session [with] Robert Courts who delivered some much appreciated news.”
A Department for Transport spokesperson said that the return of domestic cruises would be aligned to the reopening of domestic tourism and indoor hospitality.
Last month, it was confirmed that holidays will resume no earlier than May 17, as the government laid out its roadmap for exiting lockdown.
A DfT review into how to allow inbound and outbound travel to restart will report on April 12. Domestic cruises were outlined as the first step in the sector’s reopening by the Global Travel Taskforce in autumn.
According to The Independent, Courts told MPs that the government is working with the home nations to ensure the return of UK-wide domestic cruise.
A DfT spokesperson said: “We are committed to restarting cruise travel when it is safe to do so and we are working closely with the sector to prepare for a safe and successful restart.
“The restart of domestic cruises in England will be aligned with the wider resumption of the domestic tourism and indoor hospitality sectors.
“As set out in the prime minister’s roadmap, the earliest possible date for this step is May 17.”
Andy Harmer, director, Clia UK and Ireland, said: “We strongly welcome the announcement that cruise will be included alongside the restart of other domestic tourism in the UK. The industry has been working with the government over the last year on health protocols which put the safety of our passengers and crew first. Many of these protocols have already been tested successfully where cruise has been able to operate elsewhere in Europe.
“The industry has long planned a phased restart for cruise, with domestic cruises representing the first stage of this plan. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the Government, including through the Global Travel Taskforce in order to ensure the safe restart of international cruise in time for the summer season.”
The second LNG-powered Excel class ship is set to arrive in December 2022 and is designed to appeal to all ages
P&O Cruises’ new Excel class ship Arvia will feature Altitude Skywalk high-ropes, minigolf, a swim-up bar and new restaurant Green & Co featuring Mizuhana.
Arriving in December 2022, the ship is designed to appeal to all ages, P&O Cruises said as it unveiled new renderings.
Guests will be able to choose from two different adventurous Altitude Skywalk high-ropes courses while suspended 54m above the ocean. Altitude Minigolf, comprising nine minigolf challenges and another P&O Cruises first, will be located below.
A swim-up bar and infinity pool with views of the ship’s wake will also be part of the on-deck experience.
SkyDome is a pool by day with dining and entertainment by night, including aerial performances, theatre productions and blockbuster movies al fresco on SeaScreen.
As well as entertainment, Arvia will feature 12 restaurants plus a further eight more casual places to eat.
Green & Co featuring Mizuhana with a “plant and fish-led” menu has been especially developed for Arvia. Mizuhana sushi bar will be within Green & Co.
Also on board is 6th Street Diner, informal by day, but with a sophisticated night-time vibe, featuring retro seating, atmospheric lighting and jukebox and serving all-American flavours including speciality fried chicken and waffles with bourbon mascarpone.
P&O Cruises’ signature restaurants Epicurean, Sindhu, The Glass House, The Keel & Cow and The Olive Grove, already across the fleet, will feature on Arvia.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Arvia is the latest evolution in the P&O Cruises experience, embodying the newest trends in travel, dining and entertainment, and will be the epitome of a sunshine resort sailing year-round to the warmest climates.
“New restaurant Green & Co featuring Mizuhana will have a plant-led menu, reflecting the latest trends in vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian dining, while Altitude Skywalk and SeaScreen will entertain all ages.
“Arvia’s extraordinary features maximise views of the ocean, seashore and destinations from everywhere on board, while guests enjoy the next generation of onboard entertainment.”
The 185,000-tonne ship, which is 345m in length and boasts 16 guest decks, will also be home to Ocean Studios cinema, 1,300 square metres of shopping and the Oasis Spa and Health Club.
The Oasis Spa boasts new treatments exclusive to Arvia – two couples’ suites, each with a hammam and steam room, a therapeutic cool room, a restorative salt sauna and an invigorating Kneipp Walk, which combines a pebble foot massage with hot and cold water treatments to stimulate circulation and boost vitality.
Similar to its sister ship Iona, Arvia will be powered by liquefied natural gas as part of P&O Cruises’ ongoing commitment to sustainable travel. Building of the ship is already underway at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany.