Holidays: Simon Calder gives 2021 travel advice
Saga Cruises has issued strict new rules for holidaymakers as the cruise industry attempts to prepare for a comeback in 2021. Cruisers must have had the covid vaccine in order to be able to travel with the British cruise line. “We have welcomed the news that the COVID‑19 vaccination programme has started to be rolled out across the country, with many of our guests amongst the first groups of people being offered the vaccine,” said Nigel Blanks, Chief Executive Officer at Saga Cruises, in a statement today.
“It is with this in mind that we have once more reviewed our health and safety procedures to ensure we are providing the safest possible cruise experience.
“We have taken the decision to introduce the requirement that all guests must be fully vaccinated against COVID‑19 at least 14 days before sailing with us.”
The news is set to impact holidaymakers set to cruise on the Spirit of Discovery from April 2021, and cruises aboard Spirit of Adventure from May 2021 to December 2021.
These voyages have now been postponed – the former until early May and the later until early June.
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“In order to allow our guests sufficient time to be fully vaccinated, we have decided to delay the restart of our cruise programme which was due to commence on April 3 with Spirit of Discovery.
“Instead our programme will begin with Spirit of Adventure’s inaugural voyage on May 4 and our Secrets of Corsica and Sardinia cruise aboard Spirit of Discovery will now sail on the June 2.”
Saga Cruises will be contacting all guests affected by the new requirement to discuss their options.
Cruises due to sail before May have now been cancelled.
“All cruises prior to this will no longer go ahead as planned which I am sure will come as a huge disappointment to you, but I also know that you will understand our reasons behind this,” said the CEO.
Anyone impacted is urged not to get in touch with with the travel company.
Instead, Saga Cruises “will be in touch with you over the next two weeks to either transfer your cruise departure date (for those booked on Secrets of Corsica and Sardinia) or advise on your options and answer any questions you may have.”
Blanks went on: “If you are unable to transfer your booking to a later cruise, we will of course arrange a full refund for you.”
The new requirement to be vaccinated comes on top of Saga’s other strict measures to limit the spread of the deadly virus.
“Our new vaccination policy will be in addition to the detailed arrangements we have already put in place for when cruises and other holidays restart,” a Saga spokesman told Express.co.uk.
The Saga website details: “Our carefully selected cruise partners will have to confirm adherence to all local COVID-19 guidelines.
“This may include social distancing measures, à la carte or waiter served buffet meals only and an increase in general cleaning routines.”
The site continued: “Ensuring cabin cleanliness will also be vitally important and we expect all major touchpoints to be cleaned and sanitised with increased regularity.
“Guests will, of course, be reminded that social distancing is as much your responsibility as it is for our cruise partners and we would appreciate your efforts in ensuring that this is incorporated into your daily routine.”
Last month, Saga Cruises announced it had to cancel Autumn Colours of the USA and Canada cruise aboard Spirit of Discovery departing September 29, 2021.
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