The cruises will depart from Southampton between June and September, sailing around the UK coast, ‘where the sun shines brightest’.
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. Also, we really will look at the weather forecast each cruise and aim to take our ships where it is warm and sunny.”
Sailings are only for vaccinated UK residents
Setting sail from Southampton, guests will be able to enjoy a British break on Britannia and Iona – gourmet dining and poolside bites; cocktails and coffees; and shopping, spas, shows and endless sea views. Given the advanced progress of the UK vaccination programme, and strong expressed preference on the part of our guests for this limited series of UK coastal cruises, these sailings on Britannia and Iona will be for UK resident Covid-19 vaccinated guests only.
All guests and crew will be required to follow enhanced health and wellbeing measures to protect everyone onboard on these cruises. These have been developed with guidance from the company’s global medical and public health experts and scientists, and in close co-ordination with UK government agencies. The protocols include enhanced sanitation measures, appropriate social distancing, and the wearing of masks in certain areas of the ship. Crew will also undergo a strict testing and quarantine regime, as well as regular testing during their time on board.
International sailings to restart in autumn
Ludlow added: "As we have spent the majority of the last year at home, to be able to have a restorative and relaxing break, sit on deck with a sea view in the summer sunshine and then enjoy an indulgent dinner and show, it's certainly what we all need this year, and we cannot wait to have our guests back on board."
P&O hopes to restart international sailings in the autumn. Ludlow said: “For the autumn, we hope that we’re going to pick up international cruises once again, once the world begins to open up more widely. We talk to our guests regularly and they’re telling us overwhelmingly that this is what they want,” Ludlow added, going on to clarify the policy was ‘a decision for this summer’ and would be revisited ‘for the autumn onwards’.