Fred. Olsen to restart cruises - will you need proof you've had the jab?

Balmoral cruising out of Dover, UK

Fred. Olsen has announced their plans to return to sailing post-pandemic with 'no port' sailings from Dover. - Credit: Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred. Olsen has announced its plans to restart cruises this summer - but said it is "awaiting further guidance" before deciding requirements for guests.

Several other major British cruise lines have already announced that unvaccinated passengers will not be allowed on their voyages.

The Ipswich-based firm will begin taking passengers again with cruises around the British Isles, beginning with a 'no port' cruise. 

However, Fred. Olsen bosses said they were yet to make the decision about what travellers will be asked to do.

Peter Deer, Fred. Olsen's managing director, said: "By the time we resume sailing in July, we know that a large proportion of UK adults will have received their vaccinations.

“The vaccine is a big advancement for the travel industry, but it must be considered as part of a multi-layered approach.

“The government’s Global Travel Taskforce is expected to deliver an update on April 12, and we are awaiting further guidance from that before we confirm any final requirements with our guests.”

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The cruise line will begin its summer schedule on July 5 with a three-night cruise from Liverpool.

Mr Deer said: “We are so excited to be unveiling these new summer cruises today.

"So often overlooked, our British Isles are home to some of the most wonderful wildlife, and so much spectacular scenery that is best enjoyed from the water.

“This is an incredibly important milestone for our business, and we can’t wait to welcome our guests on board our new-look fleet this summer.”

The government has advised people to avoid all cruises since July 9, 2020, due to the coronavirus crisis.

But maritime minister Robert Courts told MPs last week that domestic cruises could be permitted from May 17.

Among the cruise lines that have already announced they will require proof passengers have been vaccinated are P&O Cruises and Saga.

P&O Cruises, the UK's largest cruise line, said only UK residents who have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine at least seven days in advance will be permitted onboard.

Failure to provide proof of the jabs “will result in denial of boarding”, the firm warned.

This is a “strong expressed preference on the part of our guests”, it added.

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