River cruises given the green light to sail as FCO revises cruise advice

In a surprise move, river cruises have been given the green light following a change to Foreign Office advice. The FCO has updated its website to specify that its cruise ship travel ban now relates to international travel on ‘sea-going’ cruise ships.

Previously, it had issued a blanket ban on all cruising. Cruise lines are also seeking clarification to see if they can operate cruises specifically in UK waters.

The clarification will come as welcome relief to river cruise operators and UK travellers.

The government advice states: The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against cruise ship travel at this time. This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England. Cruise ship travel means staying overnight for at least one night on a sea-going cruise ship with people from multiple households.’

The clarification will come as welcome relief to river cruise operators and  UK travellers…

The VIVA Tiara completes its maiden voyage

The notification applies to international travel on a ship designed exclusively for pleasure or recreation, which provides overnight accommodation and leisure facilities, such as pools and theatres.

It does not apply to ferries or privately-rented craft.

River cruise specialist VIVA has just completed its first post Covid-19 cruise. The maiden voyage of the new VIVA Tiara took in the cities of Koblenz, Rüdesheim am Rhein, Frankfurt and Nürnberg; the castles and palaces of the Rhine Valley region and the fine wines of the Rheingau district, before crossing the border to Austria.

The VIVA Tiara is the very first ship owned by the young European river tour operator. It sailed with 95 passengers and featured new health measures, including regular temperature checks, compulsory facemasks, one-way system in corridors and à la carte meals.

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