Cruise company hits FCO over ‘illogical’ travel advice

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Video report from ITV News correspondent Rupert Evelyn


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) decision to discourage British holidaymakers from traveling on cruise ships has been described as “illogical” by a travel agency.

Paul Green of Riviera Travel told the PA news agency that it was “absurd” that people should not be advised to do river cruises in countries where travel restrictions have been lifted.

“It is completely illogical when it comes to river cruising in safe countries,” he said.

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“Why do you think sleeping on a river cruise ship was so much more dangerous than sleeping in a decent hotel in France or Germany?”

“Our plans for the return were to have a smaller number, tour groups that were half the size as before, the coaches were only going to be half full.

The Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire-based company is expected to start contacting customers in the coming days with the intention of restarting a limited range of crossings next month, but that will only happen if the FCO exempts river cruises from its advice. .

Green added, “It is very frustrating and actually quite overwhelming for the clients and also for the staff who have done so much work. “

Simon Palethorpe, President of Carnival UK, the parent company of P&O Cruises and Cunard, said that confidence in the cruise remains “strong” and that the company “sees growing demand from our customers, which we are eager to welcome to back on board when the time is right ”.

The FCO is committed to “continue to review” its position on cruises. Credit: PA Images

P&O Cruises had previously suspended all crossings until mid-October.

Debbie Marshall, Executive Director of Silver Travel Advisor, which provides advice to travelers over the age of 50, said, “We don’t really understand why it happened suddenly, why the timing was so bad to do at the time, and what was the real reasoning behind it, as this is simply a statement from the FCO without any justification to support it.

“It literally stops cruise lines from stalling, especially those that have already decided on dates when they think they can start sailing again.

Norwegian cruise company Hurtigruten plans to launch crossings to the UK and Ireland from September 2.

Large companies such as Royal Caribbean International and Carnival plan to resume travel in the same month.

The FCO is committed to “continuing to review” its position on cruises, which is “based on medical advice” from Public Health England.

He insisted that he “continues to support the work of the Department of Transport with industry for the resumption of international cruise travel”.

Travel advice means that many holidaymakers with future reservations risk canceling their trip.

In March, the FCO advised Britons aged 70 and over and those with underlying health conditions to avoid cruise ships.

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