P&O says cruise passengers must be fully vaccinated against Covid before travel

P&O has announced that passengers holidaying on its cruises this summer will have to be fully vaccinated against Covid first (Photo: Shutterstock)

P&O has announced that passengers holidaying on its cruises this summer will have to be fully vaccinated against Covid first.

Those travelling with the company will have to have received both doses of a coronavirus vaccine at least seven days in advance of their departure date.

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Full vaccination against Covid required prior to travel

P&O Cruises will operate a series of short breaks on Britannia this summer, and seven-night voyages on new ship Iona.

The cruises will depart from Southampton between June and September, but will not head overseas. This comes after maritime minister Robert Courts told MPs last week that cruises could be permitted on a domestic basis from 17 May.

The P&O cruises will instead sail around the UK’s coastline, but will not stop at any ports, except from one Britannia sailing which will visit Liverpool.

Iona will anchor off the small Scottish island after which she was named for her maiden voyage.

However, guests will be required to be fully vaccinated before they head on their cruise. The company has warned that failure to provide proof of the Covid jabs “will result in denial of boarding”.

P&O also added that this requirement is a “strong expressed preference on the part of our guests”.

This comes after Saga Cruises and Virgin Voyages recently made similar moves, with Saga announcing that it will require all guests to be vaccinated when it resumes its operations in June.

A number of other measures will also be put into place on P&O cruises for the safety of guests and staff, including passengers being required to wear masks in certain areas of the ship, and making travel insurance mandatory.

There will also be enhanced cleaning regimes and social distancing measures in place, with buffet food to be served by staff.

‘We have every hope that our guests will be able to enjoy a holiday this summer’

P&O Cruises president, Paul Ludlow, said: “Given recent announcements we have every hope that our guests will be able to enjoy a holiday this summer.

“After the stresses and challenges of the past year everyone certainly deserves a treat and this series of cruises will provide memorable and much-needed UK getaways.”

“Whilst there is still uncertainty about holidays abroad this summer, we are delighted to be able to offer our guests the ultimate escape here in the UK with the reassurance that we will take care of everything,” Mr Ludlow added.

“Also, we really will look at the weather forecast each cruise and aim to take our ships where it is warm and sunny.”