Complete Guide to UK Summer Cruises for 2021

It’s the news that U.K. cruisers have been waiting for… UK summer cruises for 2021! Several cruise lines have announced plans to offer summer cruises around the UK to kickstart the cruise industry. I’ve compiled this guide to bring all the information together in one place and help you compare cruises.

P&O Cruises UK Summer Cruises 2021

P&O Cruises has announced that it will offer Ultimate Escape UK holidays this summer including a very special maiden voyage for Iona.

You can expect a series of P&O summer cruises short breaks on flagship Britannia and week-long cruises on new ship, Iona. These cruises will depart from Southampton between June and September, sailing around the UK coast.

I’d strongly recommend that you register your interest in these cruises. This will also give you full details of the health and well being protocols in place for these cruises. Don’t forget to mention you used this link from Cruise Lifestyle.

P&O Cruises

Britannia will offer three and four night breaks (starting from £449 per person) and one 6-night holiday running from June 27, 2021 through to September 19, 2021.

Iona will offer seven-night itineraries running from August 7, 2021 to September 18, 2021 (starting from £779 per person).  

At the start of Iona’s maiden season, the new Ultimate Escape series of holidays includes a memorable seven-night maiden voyage sailing around the Scottish islands. Iona will anchor off Iona, the island after which she was named, with a celebratory extended stay until sunset for magical views. Prices for the maiden voyage will start from £1,199.

The Early Saver Pricing will only be available at launch of these special cruises. A 15% deposit is required and the cruise balance is due 30 days prior to departure.  P&O’s Flexible Transfer policy applies and guests can use FCC to book.

Key information:

  • P&O Cruises will restart cruising in the U.K. from Sunday 27 June from Southampton
  • P&O summer cruises will be offered on Britannia and new ship, Iona
  • Britannia will offer three and four night cruises
  • Iona will offer 7-night cruises
  • These cruises will go on sale on 22 March, 8.30am
  • Passengers will be required to have had both COVID-19 vaccine doses at least 7 days prior to boarding
  • Children who are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine will not be permitted to cruise these summer sailings
  • Register your interest (mentioning Cruise Lifestyle) to be kept informed of cruise details, including prices, dates and health protocols.
P&O Britannia will offer UK summer cruises in 2021
Check out my P&O Cruises section

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Princess Cruises UK Summer Cruises 2021

Princess Cruises has revealed details of its short breaks and week-long cruises aboard MedallionClass ships. Regal Princess and Sky Princess are scheduled to sail from Southampton around the UK coast from late summer. The all-inclusive ‘Summer Seacations’ went on sale on Wednesday 24 March at 8.00am.

Regal Princess will offer 14 UK voyages running from 31 July through to 23 September, 2021. Sky Princess will offer eight UK cruises, running from 30 August through to 28 September, 2021.  

These UK summer cruises will offer scenic cruises and voyages with stops in UK ports-of-call including Liverpool, Belfast and Greenock, with itineraries ranging from three to seven nights.

Ocean Medallion Cruises

Guests will be able to enjoy ‘Truly Touchless’ experiences and personalised services through the cruise line’s MedallionClass Experience that supports new health protocols. The OceanMedallionTM wearable device replaces the traditional cruise card to offer:

  • Touchless embarkation and disembarkation  
  • Keyless stateroom entry  
  • Completely contactless commerce  
  • Simplified safety training
  • On-demand food, beverages and retail items delivered anywhere on board
  • Guest service requests via mobile device chat
  • Location-based gaming and wagering
  • Entertainment content via smart devices

MedallionClass ships also offer unprecedented connectivity that is fast, reliable and unlimited through MedallionNet™ – hailed as the best Wi-Fi at sea. With a wireless access point in every stateroom, guests can stream favourite movies, shows, games and music; connect to favourite social media sites; and video chat from anywhere on the ship.

OceanMedallion on Princess Cruises
OceanMedallion

These Summer Seacations will feature many of the onboard experiences typically enjoyed on a Princess cruise. All dining venues will be open including the speciality restaurants, where guests can dine at Princess favourites Crown Grill Steakhouse and Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria. On Sky Princess you should try out the Bistro Sur La Mer speciality restaurant, created with Three Michelin star chef Emmanuel Renaut.

A variety of entertainment will be offered onboard both ships, including production shows in the Princess Theatre, Movies Under the Stars, celebrity guest speakers and live musical performances. Relaxation and leisure facilities such as fitness classes, swimming pools and spa treatments will also be available.

“These resort-style seacations offer the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy some time off. We believe that these cruises will appeal to both our loyal guests who are eager to get back onboard our beautiful MedallionClass ships and holidaymakers looking to experience Princess for the first time.

“While international travel remains uncertain, these new cruises mean that UK residents can take a well-deserved holiday around the UK. We are also delighted that our new cruises will offer the choice between scenic voyages and port-of-call itineraries where guests can visit the historic UK cities of Liverpool, Belfast and Glasgow.”  

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises vice president UK and Europe

All guests will have the opportunity to make their cruise all-inclusive by selecting the Princess Plus fare, which includes the line’s premium drinks package, unlimited MedallionNet Wi-Fi and gratuities for £30 per person per day.  

All-inclusive fares for a balcony stateroom start from £539pp for a three-night scenic voyage; £599pp for a four-night cruise with up to one port; and £999pp for a seven-night cruise with up to three ports-of-call. Guests can book with a £50 deposit if booked before May 3, 2021.

Regal Princess balcony cabin
Read my review of a balcony stateroom on Regal Princess

Bookings made by April 30, 2021 will be covered by Princess Cruises ‘Book with Confidence’ policy, meaning guests can cancel up to 30 days prior to sailing and receive cancellation fees back as a Future Cruise Credit.

Princess Cruises Health Protocol

Princess Cruises UK summer cruises are available to UK residents who have received both doses of their COVID-19 vaccine.

All guests and crew will be required to follow enhanced health and well-being measures to protect everyone onboard on these cruises. These have been developed with guidance from global medical and public health experts and scientists and in close coordination with UK government agencies. These protocols include:

  • Enhanced sanitisation measures
  • Social distancing
  • The wearing of masks in certain areas of the ship
  • Crew will undergo a strict testing and quarantine regime as well as regular testing during their time on board.
  • Travel insurance will also be mandatory for all guests

Register your interest in Princess Cruises UK summer cruises

Cunard UK Summer Cruises

Cunard returns this summer with a collection of thirteen new itineraries on board Queen Elizabeth, exclusively for UK guests.  Cunard will offer UK summer cruises from July through to October and these voyages will range from three to 12 nights from Southampton.

These 2021 summer cruises will be available to passengers who have received both COVID-19 vaccine doses at least 7 days prior to embarkation. Proof of vaccination/dates given will be required (approved forms of evidence to be confirmed prior to departure) and will need to be shown at the terminal before boarding. There is no age restriction on these UK summer cruises but all passengers of all ages must meet the requirements of the COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Pre-embarkation COVID-19 tests MAY be required as part of Cunard’s framework of protocols and will be complimentary in the holiday cost. Unfortunately, passengers will not be able to book back to back voyages. As with P&O and Princess, passengers will need cruise-specific travel insurance in order to cruise.

Balcony fares will start from:

  • 4 Night  – £599
  • 10  Night – £1,299

There are three options available with Cunard: scenic cruises, cruises with ports (Holyhead, Liverpool,
Greenock, Invergordon, Belfast, and Newcastle) and sun voyages, which plan to cruise to the best weather.

Register your interest in Cunard’s UK summer cruises

Viking UK Summer Cruises

Viking Cruises has announced that it will restart limited operations in May 2021 with three special sailings along the coast of England. These UK summer cruises will be available exclusively for UK residents but COVID-19 vaccinations will not be required.

Viking’s new eight-day ocean itinerary, England’s Scenic Shores, will sail roundtrip from Portsmouth, from 22 May. These cruises will be on its newest ship, Viking Venus.

Pre-registration for these summer cruises is currently open only to Viking’s loyal past guests; more details about the voyages will be released and reservations will be available to all UK residents in due course.

“We welcome the UK Government’s support for the return of safe domestic cruises as an important component in the travel industry’s recovery. We are in a position to restart operations quickly and to start sailing again in May because we have kept our ships crewed during warm lay-up throughout the past 12 months. We have been implementing our additional protocols, including daily quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests for our crew, for almost six months now. With our new protocol enhancements in place, we believe there will be no safer way to travel the world than on a Viking voyage and we look forward to welcoming UK guests back on board very soon.”

Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking

Viking Cruises have a full-scale laboratory installed on every Viking ocean ship. This means that all passengers and crew will receive daily quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests. New air purification technology has also been installed on all ships, which have always featured independent air handling units for all staterooms. Additional health checks, sanitisation and physical distancing measures will provide further protection for Viking passengers and crew at all points of the journey. A complete overview of the Viking Health & Safety Programme.

Register your interest in Viking Cruises UK summer cruises

Fred. Olsen UK Summer Cruises

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has unveiled its brand new ‘Welcome Back’ programme of cruises to showcase the best of the British Isles this summer, with scenic-only cruises and those with ports of call featured aboard its smaller ships.

The 11-cruise programme includes departures from Dover and Liverpool, with scenic sailings taking in the best of the British Isles, including the Shetland and Orkney islands and the Isles of Scilly.

It’s new ship, Borealis, will be the first of the fleet to set sail, with a three-night scenic ‘Maiden Voyage’ from Liverpool on 5 July, with Bolette to depart on a three-night ‘Maiden Voyage’ from Dover on 16 August.

“We are so excited to be unveiling these new summer cruises today. So often overlooked, our British Isles are home to some of the most wonderful wildlife, and so much spectacular scenery that is best enjoyed from the water.

“With this selection of shorter sailings, guests can dip their toes back into cruising and enjoy all that they love about being on board with us, before we all begin to venture further afield again.

“This is an incredibly important milestone for our business, and we can’t wait to welcome our guests on board our new-look fleet this summer.”

Peter Deer, Managing Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

Fred. Olsen Itineraries

Highlights of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ UK summer sailings include:

Borealis’ four-night S213 ‘Scenic British Isles & Summer Wildlife’ no port cruise, departing from Liverpool on 8 July 2021. Prices start from £549 per person. Enjoy up to £75 per person to spend on board.

Itinerary: Liverpool, England – Cruising by Neist Point Lighthouse – Cruising by Kilt Rock & Mealt Waterfall – Cruising Loch Broom –Cruising by The Small Isles – Cruising Loch Hourn – Cruising by Dutchman’s Cap – (Bac Mòr) & Fingals Cave – Cruising Sound of Mull – Cruising by Duart Castle – Liverpool, England

Borealis’ five-night S215 ‘Scenic Orkney & Faroe Islands’ no port cruise, departing from Liverpool on 17 July 2021. Prices start from £699 per person. Enjoy up to £100 per person to spend on board.

Itinerary: Liverpool, England – Cruising by The Needle, Orkney, Scotland – Cruising by Old Man of Hoy, Hoy, Orkneys – Cruising by Marwick Head, Orkneys – Cruising by Fair Isle – Cruising by Sumburgh Head, Shetlands – Cruising by Cape Enniberg – Cruising Kalsoyarfjørður – Cruising Leirvíksfjørður & Djúpini – Cruising by Vestmanna cliffs, Streymoy – Cruising by Gásadalur – Cruising by Mykines – Cruising Gáshólmur, Tindhólmur & Drangarnir – Cruising by Hestur & Koltur – Liverpool, England

Bolette’s five-night T217 ‘Touring Scenic Orkneys & Shetlands’ cruise, departing from Dover on 24 August 2021. Prices start from £799 per person. Enjoy up to £100 per person to spend on board.

Itinerary: Dover, England – Lerwick, Shetland Islands – Kirkwall, Orkney Islands – Dover, England

Wildlife Cruises

Passengers aboard Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ ‘no port’ scenic sailings this summer will be joined by experts from marine wildlife charity ORCA, who will be offering wildlife-spotting tips, hosting sessions from the deck and giving passengers the chance to assist in vital conservation research.

Fred. Olsen UK summer cruises will involve whale and wildlife experts

ORCA’s team of Cruise Conservationists will spend their days out on deck, helping to spot, identify and record data about the marine wildlife that they see, as well as holding lectures and Q&A sessions on board.

The ORCA Cruise Conservationist programme is a unique whale and dolphin monitoring project, using these cruises to identify and monitor whale and dolphin populations around the world.

Any data captured during these sailings will be analysed and used as a part of ORCA’s wider research to identify hotspots for whales and dolphins to help ORCA to better protect them. This helps to create safe spaces in the ocean for whales and dolphins to thrive, safeguarding them for future generations.

Fred. Olsen Cruises Health Protocols

The cruise line is awaiting further guidance from the government’s ‘Global Travel Taskforce’, which is expected to provide an update on 12 April, 2021. Following the guidance, decisions will be made about destinations and requirements from passengers.

Face masks will be mandatory in public spaces where social distancing is not possible, e.g. corridors, lifts, and the cruise line has said that there will be no exceptions onboard for those who are exempt from wearing a mask.

Testing before embarkation will be required for passengers and it’s crew. Fred. Olsen is currently investigating the potential to vaccinate crew but as commercial vaccines are not currently available, this may be a challenge.

Other health protocols include forming dining ‘bubbles’ of up to six passengers, who will dine together each night. These dining ‘bubbles’ will also apply in the buffet (served by crew).

MSC Cruises UK Summer Cruises

MSC Cruises announced that it will offer a special range of short breaks and week-long cruises around the British Isles this summer starting from 20 May, for UK holidaymakers only.

Departing from the new terminal in Southampton, these first sailings will be a series of short cruises followed by 7-night sailings. MSC will visit some of the UK’s favourite destinations and offer additional ports of embarkation. This means that you can join a cruise at Southampton, Liverpool or Greenock. Ports of call include: Portland, Liverpool, Greenock, Belfast and Southampton.

“It’s time for UK holidaymakers to get back on board and enjoy a well-deserved break from what has been a very challenging 12 months for everyone in so many ways. MSC Cruises is a family-owned company and our guests are an extension of that, so we are looking forward to welcoming them and their families back on board.  Our hope is to offer every type of holidaymaker the chance to escape this summer – from grandparents to teens and even the smallest of passengers looking to explore.”

Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director MSC Cruises UK & Ireland

No Vaccines Required

MSC Cruises will welcome both vaccinated and non-vaccinated passengers aboard. All passengers will be tested prior to embarkation, while non-vaccinated guests will also be required to show proof of negative test done within 72 hours prior to embarkation. Crew will be tested and will have undergone a 14-day quarantine prior to embarkation.

Since MSC Cruises restarted cruises in August 2020, it has welcomed more than 50,000 guests under the protection of its health and safety protocol. It includes deep and ongoing sanitation, protected-only shore excursions, as well as many other measures that we are used to in our daily lives, such as social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.

As one of the only cruise lines not to require a COVID-19 vaccination, it may be one of the only options for families who want to cruise in 2021. Despite not needing a vaccine, all passengers will require a valid passport, adequate travel insurance and a negative Covid-19 test no more than 72 hours before embarkation.

MSC’s new ship, Virtuosa, will be taking her inaugural season around the British Isles. The cruise ship has 10 dining venues, 21 bars and the first humanoid robot bartender at sea featured in the new MSC Starship Club.

MSC Cruise Prices

Four-night cruises start from:

  • Interior £499
  • Oceanview £649
  • Balcony £699
  • Yacht Club £1,719
  • Children (2-11 years) £

7-night cruises start from:

  • Interior £849
  • Oceanview £949
  • Balcony £1,049
  • Yacht Club £2,549

All prices include the Premium All Inclusive Drinks Package and gratuities. Onboard currency will be in British Pounds Sterling.

To say thank you to those working in the heathcare during the pandemic, MSC Cruises is offering up to 50% discount on UK summer cruises and any new bookings for cruises departing before the end of 2021.

To get the full 50% discount there is only one date available (4 September, 7-night cruise).

A 10% discount is available on cruises leaving from 20 May to 19 June.

A 20% discount is available on UK summer cruises leaving 24 July to 28 August.

A 30% discount is available on cruises leaving from 3 to 17 July.

This healthcare workers ‘Thank you’ discount is intended per cabin and applicable to the cruise fare only. It can be combined with the on-going promotional rates at the time of booking as well as with the MSC Voyagers club discount. If a healthcare worker already has a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) they can take advantage of this offer when redeeming their voucher during the above-mentioned booking period.

The special discount for healthcare workers is available to:

  • All NHS Doctors/Nurses/Front line and back office workers employed in the Hospital facilities (eg. Hospital/clinics/Covid-19 centers), who have been directly or indirectly impacted by the Covid Emergency
  • Other related jobs to Hospital services (e.g. Cleaning service staff) only if directly hired by the Hospitals, not from private companies
  • Family Doctors
  • Firefighters
  • Pharmacists operating during the pandemic
  • Private Doctors and medical figures not employed in hospital facilities ONLY IF their specialization is directly related to COVID-19 diseases (eg. Doctors specialized in pneumology, virologists)
  • Healthcare Volunteers (Ambulance, Social services) who offered their support during the Covid-19 emergency
  • Retired doctors who were called back to service to give support during the pandemic
  • Research Laboratories employees only if they specifically perform COVID-19 tests

Register your interest in MSC UK summer cruises to be kept up-to-date with the latest information about its plans to resume cruising in the UK.

Disney Cruise Line UK Summer Cruises

The UK will be able to experience the magic of Disney Cruise Line close to home with brand-new Disney Magic at Sea “staycation” sailings from U.K. ports during summer 2021. Disney Magic plans to sail two and three-night voyages, as well as a limited number of 4-night cruises from London Tilbury, Newcastle, Liverpool and Southampton.

“Our teams are bringing tremendous ingenuity and fun to these new cruises, tailoring them with care to the times we are living in, yet filling them with everything you’d expect from Disney, from great service and entertainment to immersive dining experiences and magic for the whole family.”

Thomas Mazloum, president of Disney Cruise Line.

Disney plan to offer ‘cruises to nowhere’ so that passengers can enjoy all of the onboard amenities including family pools and waterslides, kids clubs, and adult-only retreats (secluded pool and spa). Passengers on Disney Magic will be able to enjoy a lively entertainment district and fine-dining restaurant.

Favourite Disney stories, characters and entertainment will come to life during these special Disney Magic at Sea cruises, including a celebration with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Anna, Elsa and Olaf, and Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes. Passengers will be able to take physically-distanced photos with Captain Mickey and enjoy a royal promenade with Disney Princesses.

Disney Cruise Line UK summer cruises

Disney’s Health Protocols

Disney Cruise Line is implementing multiple layers of health and safety measures considering guidance from the U.K. government, health authorities and medical experts. This includes COVID-19 testing, health screenings, face coverings, reduced guest capacity, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning.

Disney Magic at Sea staycation sailings are expected to go on sale in April 2021 for sailings this summer, pending the issuance of U.K. government guidelines and authorisations.

Register your interest in Disney UK Summer Cruises

Riviera Travel UK Summer Cruises

For the first time, Riviera Travel is offering UK summer cruises around Scotland and Ireland. These cruises will be on newly-refurbished MS Seaventure will offer small-ship cruises with less than 160 passengers and a 2:1 passenger crew ratio.

Riviera Travel will offer 8-day cruises from £1,999 per person. There are two cruises around Ireland (departing 12 and 19 July) and two around Scotland (departing 5 and 27 July).

The advice on vaccine requirements is unclear on the company’s website, with it stating that both Covid-19 vaccination doses are required at least seven days before travelling or a negative Covid test. If both doses have not been received before the holiday, a Covid test will be provide free of charge. So basically, it sounds like you can cruise whether you’ve had no vaccine, one dose or both doses – I’d definitely recommend checking these details with Riviera Travel before booking.

Summary of UK Summer Cruises

Cruises requiring both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 7 days prior to embarkation:

  • P&O Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • Cunard
  • Fred. Olsen TBC
  • Riviera Travel TBC

Cruises not requiring a COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Viking Ocean Cruises (adult-only)
  • MSC Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line

Cruise lines available to families with children:

  • MSC Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line

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Laura
Laura

Laura is a UK cruise blogger based in Cornwall, UK. She founded Cruise Lifestyle in 2016 to share useful advice about cruising, destinations and food.
Last port visited: Bridgetown, Barbados
Next port of call: unknown, but she can’t wait for cruising to resume safely!

Find me on: Twitter

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2 Comments

  1. Veronika Konečná
    March 29, 2021 / 2:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing this guide with us! With my kid we are planning to go to Greece with https://www.yachting.com/en-gb/greece-yacht-charter and after that we have UK on bucket list!

    Hopefully the situation will be better soon though.

    Have a great day!

    V.

    • Laura
      Author
      April 3, 2021 / 11:05 am

      Thanks for sharing, hopefully the UK summer cruises will lead to cruising in the Mediterranean and further afield soon for UK cruisers. Enjoy your yacht holiday.

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