Fred. Olsen vows to return ‘stronger than ever’ as people urged not to travel on cruise ships
PUBLISHED: 10:57 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:58 10 July 2020
Suffolk-based cruise line Fred. Olsen has vowed to return “better, safer and stronger than ever” after the government urged people to avoid travelling on cruise ships during the coronavirus crisis.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a statement on Thursday advising people not to embark on sailings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This came after the blanket advice against all non-essential foreign travel was lifted for dozens of destinations on Saturday.
The FCO pledged to “continue to review” its position on cruises, which is “based on medical advice” from Public Health England.
It insisted it “continues to support the Department for Transport’s work with industry for the resumption of international cruise travel”.
The travel advice means many holidaymakers with future bookings risk having their trips cancelled.
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Peter Deer, managing director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:
“We are very clear on our position that we will not resume sailing until it is safe for us to do so.
“We chose to voluntarily pause our operations back in March as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and since then have been working tirelessly to prepare our ships, crew and staff for what a return to the water will involve.
“We have been working very closely with the other UK cruise lines and CLIA to consider what the future of cruising will look like, including our procedures for embarkation, onboard and ashore.
“This has included regular calls with the UK shipping minister, Kelly Tolhurst, and the Department for Transport, as well as Public Health England, working together to consider what needs to be done before we can resume sailing.
“We have also conducted our own research to understand what our guests would like to see happening whilst they are on their holidays with us.
“When we return to cruising, it will be better, safer and stronger than ever, and we will not do so until we and our guests are confident that it is safe, and that the world is ready to welcome us again.”
In March, the FCO advised Britons aged 70 and over, as well as those with some underlying health conditions, to avoid cruise ships after a series of coronavirus outbreaks.
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