Princess Cruises announces all inclusive UK ‘Summer Seacations’ on MedallionClass Ships

Princess Cruises has announced the series of its short breaks and week-long cruises aboard MedallionClass ships, Regal Princess and Sky Princess, scheduled to sail from Southampton around the UK coast from late summer.

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

Regal Princess and Sky Princess 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. The all-inclusive ‘Summer Seacations’ will go on sale on Wednesday, March 24 at 8 a.m.

Regal Princess and Sky Princess will offer guests ‘Truly Touchless’ experiences and personalised services through the cruise line’s MedallionClass Experience that supports new health protocols. The cruise line’s OceanMedallion wearable device replaces the traditional cruise card and pairs with embedded IoT (‘Internet of things’) -driven innovative technology to significantly expand touch-free options and personalisation on board Princess MedallionClass ships including: touchless embarkation and disembarkation; keyless stateroom entry; completely contactless commerce; on-demand food, beverages and retail items delivered anywhere on board, and entertainment content via smart devices, among others.

A variety of entertainment will be on offer 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.

Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises vice president UK and Europe, said, ‘We share in our guests’ excitement today as we unveil the details for our new Summer Seacations. With Princess Cruises, the ship is also the destination. Guests can make the most of our multiple dining options, order food and drink poolside, using the MedallionClass app, that can be delivered to you, and enjoy fantastic entertainment both day and night.

‘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.’

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.

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.

The sailings on Regal Princess and Sky Princess will be for UK resident COVID-19 vaccinated guests only. All guests and crew will be required to follow enhanced health and well-being measures to protect everyone onboard on these cruises. Travel insurance will also be mandatory for all guests, Princess said.

British Airways starts to trial Covid-19 document certification on ba.com

British Airways has said that customers eligible to travel to India will now be able to upload their negative Covid-19 test results and other travel declaration forms directly into their booking on the airline’s website ba.com, in advance of travel.

Running on all flights from London to India, the new trial is part of the airline’s efforts to simplify the departure process as it prepares for the return of international travel. The trial will certify that customers have the correct documentation needed for their flight before they arrive at the airport, allowing them to check-in online and avoid queuing in the terminal.

Customers will receive an email three days before the date of departure, directing them to the ‘Manage My Booking’ function on ba.com where they can find the relevant entry requirements, including a negative Covid-19 test result and a digital declaration form. The customer will then upload each document via ‘Manage My Booking’ which will be certified by the airline within six hours to ensure they meet the entry requirements.

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: ‘At British Airways we are preparing for the meaningful return to international travel in the coming months. This means doing everything we can to simplify the journey for our customers, allowing them to travel with confidence and create the best possible seamless, frictionless experience in a new Covid era.

‘We know that innovation and technology hold the key to unlocking international travel. We are already offering access to travel app ‘VeriFLY’ on selected routes and IAG has been helping develop ‘Travel Pass’ with IATA. Now it’s also time to look at what we can offer through our own website. The key benefit of customers being able to upload the correct travel documentation into their booking, is that it enables them to check-in online, speeding up the airport process. We are continually exploring the best possible options to help our customers return to the skies, safely.’

British Airways is planning to roll this trial out to more destinations over the coming weeks and is also working to add this functionality for those destinations to its British Airways app. This will enable customers to securely upload the documentation for their booking directly from their mobile device. The required documentation is decided by the country of destination that a customer is travelling to, which could include negative Covid tests and / or vaccination information.

Digital health travel passport, VeriFLY, is currently available on the airline’s flights from the UK to the US and Canada, as well as all inbound flights to the UK. The app is optional for customers and can be downloaded to a mobile device. The app helps meet the entry requirements of their destination by providing digital health document verification and confirming eligibility.

Ryanair announces three new routes and extra flights from UK to Greece this summer

Ryanair, the Ireland-based low fares airline, has announced three new routes and extra flights on a further five routes between the UK and Greece for this summer, all starting from July 1.

Holidaymakers and travellers in the UK are increasingly looking ahead to possible summer vacations after the government announced a roadmap for the re-opening of air travel. As Greece has opened for UK tourists and travellers starting from May 14, UK consumers can now book a sunshine break from Stansted Airport to Santorini, Zakynthos and Preveza, with the option to avail of Ryanair’s ‘zero change fee’ in case of any change of plan. The airline has added two weekly flights to each of the Greek destinations from Stansted.

Ryanair has also added five extra flights every week from Birmingham, East Midlands, Manchester, Southend and Stansted to the relaxing holiday destinations of Corfu and Rhodes.

As part of the announcement, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from £24.99 for travel until the end of October 2021, which must be booked by midnight Saturday, March 13 on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair’s Director of Commercial, Jason McGuinness said: ‘We are delighted to offer even greater choice, more routes and extra flights to Greece for our UK customers this summer. The UK Government’s highly successful vaccination programme gives customers the confidence that travel will be possible this summer. UK consumers can now choose from over 20 routes (including three announced today) and 5 extra weekly flights at low fares to some of the most popular summer holiday destinations in Greece.

Mindful that Covid restrictions change regularly, Ryanair is now allowing up to two free flight date changes on all bookings should plans change. Customers can now book flights for a well-deserved break knowing that if they need to postpone or change their travel dates, they can do so with a ‘Zero Change Fee’ until the end of October 2021.

UK travel businesses registered ‘We’re Good To Go’ to get global ‘Safe Travels’ stamp

VisitBritain has said that tourism businesses in the UK registered to the ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard scheme will automatically receive the international ‘Safe Travels’ stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Launched last year by VisitEngland in partnership with the tourism boards of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, The ‘We’re Good To Go’ scheme has been recognised by the WTTC as meeting its international global standardised health and hygiene protocols and for its role in supporting the recovery of the UK tourism sector.

Starting today, Friday 26 February, ‘We’re Good To Go’ registered businesses in the UK can log into their online account to download the Safe Travels stamp. The WTTC stamp enables travellers to recognise destinations around the world which have adopted global standardised protocols – so they can experience ‘Safe Travels.’ The protocols for the WTTC’s global Safe Travels stamp were designed with the World Health Organisation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines’ and developed alongside leading industry associations and international organisations.

VisitBritain CEO Sally Balcombe said: ‘We are delighted that businesses certified to We’re Good To Go can also automatically register for the WTTC’s global Safe Travels stamp, recognising the standard of protocols and processes we have in place in the UK. This is also testament to the hard work and commitment of tens of thousands of businesses right across the country who have adapted and innovated to safely meet new ways of working and are already ‘good to go’.

‘This international stamp sitting alongside our We’re Good To Go mark also serves to reinforce that ‘ring of confidence’ for visitors that UK tourism businesses, attractions and destinations have clear processes in place to welcome them back safely as travel restrictions are lifted.

WTTC President & CEO Gloria Guevara said: ‘We are pleased to see VisitBritain, the tourism agency for one of the world’s most popular destinations, implementing enhanced health and safety measures that are in line with our global protocols, to ensure safe travel, and we are delighted to recognise its efforts through the WTTC Safe Travels stamp.’

More than 44,000 businesses across the UK are registered on to the ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard confirming their adherence to the latest Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and have the required processes in place to aid social distancing and cleanliness, reassuring customers, staff and local residents.

Eastern Airways to operate two new routes to Nantes and Rennes from Southampton

Eastern Airways, an independent UK-based carrier, has announced plans to operate two French regional destinations from Southampton in April.

The airline will commence services to Rennes Bretagne from Thursday, April 29 and Nantes Atlantique from Friday, April 30. The two routes will be operated using the airline’s 72 seat ATR72-600 aircraft, with the Nantes service flying on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays while Rennes will be operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The flights are now available to book at www.easternairways.com, with all fares including hold baggage.

Roger Hage, general manager for Eastern Airways, said: ‘As the UK’s regional airline, we are delighted to add the first two French connections from Southampton as being Nantes-Atlantique and Rennes-Bretagne, covering the key regions of the Loire Valley and Brittany.

‘Given Southampton’s prominence in connecting the UK and France, while also being within an hour of London by rail directly outside the terminal door, it is an exciting development for all.

‘With additional new destinations to follow in the coming days and weeks, Eastern Airways is committed to supporting the regions of the UK, connecting people and places, so adding further services at hubs we already serve is another crucial part in the economic recovery and prosperity of the South-Coast hub.’

Operations director at Southampton Airport Steve Szalay said: ‘This announcement from Eastern Airways is welcome news for the airport and our passengers.

‘It is also encouraging that the airline is expanding its route map at the airport during these challenging times and will once again provide those travelling from Southampton and beyond fantastic connectivity to these ever-popular French destinations.’

Eastern Airways will reintroduce the services carefully, aligned to changes in Covid-19 restrictions, with extensive cleaning measures on-board and across the airport for the safety of all passengers, it said.

Currently Eastern Airways serves Belfast-City, Manchester, Leeds-Bradford and Teesside from Southampton with Dublin planned. Eastern Airways also has a codeshare partnership focused on Southampton with Aurigny, Guernsey’s airline, to meet increased demand to the Channel Islands.

Loganair announces Summer 2021 schedule from Isle of Man

Loganair, one of the UK’s largest regional operators, has announced its Summer 2021 schedule from the Isle of Man – adding three new routes, increasing services on existing routes and restoring routes suspended during the pandemic.

Loganair has maintained the Isle of Man’s only passenger air services throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and is now looking to allow customers to plan and book ahead for summer travel, as Covid-19 vaccines are expected to enable air travel widely once again.

The new routes from the Isle of Man include to Southampton, with three fights a week from May 26 – conveniently scheduled for onward connections to the Channel Islands with Loganair’s partner airline Blue Islands, and for those meeting cruise sailings; to Belfast City with services offered four times a week from April 1 increasing to six times weekly from May 24; and a seasonal non-stop service between the Isle of Man and Jersey, flying every Saturday from May 22 until late September.

Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: ‘We are heartened to be able to further increase the island’s connectivity with these announcements. We’re already seeing bookings coming in for destinations such as Jersey and Cornwall, and it was increasingly clear that the Isle of Man was missing out. Today’s announcements will provide clarity for both our customers on the Isle of Man and those on the ‘other island’ and beyond wishing to plan and book for the summer.’

‘We’ve taken a phased approach to increasing the number of flights on offer, in anticipation of a progressive recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and re-opening of borders. Of course, we will continue to work closely with the airport management team and the Isle of Man Government to prioritise public health and continued connectivity.’

Loganair said that it is also planning to increase the numbers of seats available across all routes by introducing larger ATR72 turboprop aircraft, which can carry up to 70 people per flight.

Ireland announces new rules for passengers arriving from Britain

The Government of Ireland has announced new rules that passengers originating from Britain or South Africa will be required to have evidence of a negative or ‘not detected’ result of a COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 72 hours of arrival into the state.

As per the new rule, which started Saturday, January 9, passengers travelling from Britain or South Africa will be required to present evidence of their negative or ‘not detected’ result before boarding their aircraft prior to departure, and will be required to produce this evidence to Immigration Officers on arrival at Dublin Airport. It will be deemed an offence if passengers arrive in an Irish airport without evidence of a negative or ‘not detected’ test result and may be subject to prosecution, punishable by a fine not exceeding EUR2,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both.

The rule is applicable to passengers whose journey originates in either Britain or South Africa. Those who only transit through an airport in Britain as part of their journey to Ireland will not be required to provide evidence of a negative or ‘not detected’ COVID-19 PCR test. Passengers who arrive in Ireland mainly for the purpose of travelling onwards to another state and do not leave the airport are also not required to provide the evidence of a negative or ‘not detected’ test.

For any urgent travel requirement, passengers can consult the nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate for advice and receive consular assistance before commencing their journey, Dublin Airport said.

Ireland is currently implementing the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the EU/European Economic Area (EEA). Passengers entering the State from red, orange and grey regions are requested to restrict their movements for 14 days, though this may be waived in certain cases. This applies to all people entering the State, even if they have no symptoms. The details are available on European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) website.

The request to restrict movements for 14 days can be waived for passengers arriving from an orange region, if they have received a negative/not detected PCR test result during the three days before arriving in Ireland. In this case, passengers are requested to have supporting evidence of the negative test in their possession, according to Irish Government guidelines.

Passengers arriving from red regions do not have to continue to restrict their movements for the full 14 days, if they have a negative/not-detected result from a PCR test taken at least five days – a minimum of five days – after arrival in the State, the airport said.

Jet2.com announces launch of holiday sales for 2021

Jet2.com has announced the launch of its holiday sale, from now until March 1, offering savings on flights and holidays for 2021.

The UK travel and holiday company is offering a discount of £110 off per person on all package holidays booked through the Jet2holidays app. Holidaymakers may download the free Jet2holidays app to search, book, save and manage holidays on their mobile or tablet. Customers can save £100 per person on all package holidays booked with Jet2holidays, and Jet2.com is also offering 10 percent off flights.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘After an uncertain and difficult 2020 for everyone, we want to give our customers something to really look forward to this year. There’s no better feeling than getting that much-needed holiday booked, and the huge savings we are offering means that customers can enjoy the double-whammy of knowing their holiday is in the diary whilst getting a fantastic deal at the same time. Whether it’s a family holiday, a break with the other half, or a group get together, we know everyone really needs that well-deserved holiday and what better time to book it than now!’

The sale is applicable on all package holidays and flights on sale.

Besides the discount and low prices, customers will receive a 22kg baggage allowance and two free pieces of hand luggage up to 10kg through a flight-only booking with Jet2.com. Jet2 has won five accolades at the 2020 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for Airlines. Customers can also avail in-resort Customer Helpers, transfers, free child places and ATOL protection through Jet2holidays.

Ireland bans flights from Britain amid new COVID strain

Following the identification of a new strain of COVID-19 in England, the Irish Government has banned all arriving passenger flights from Britain, Dublin Airport said in a release.

The ban is in place until 23.59 on Thursday, December 31, 2020. The ban applies to all passenger flights with the exception of repatriation flights. The ban does not apply to cargo flights.

Passengers affected by this ban should contact their airline in relation to their specific flight. The ban will be reviewed by the Irish Government before Friday, January 1, 2021, the Airport said.

Separately, Dublin Airport has said that it has launched a handy new feature that enables customers to receive flight updates direct on their mobile device via Twitter, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

The new feature will keep customers updated on the status of either a departing or an arriving flight. Customers will receive status updates directly on the phone, with information such as gate number, boarding times, and delays for departing flights. For arriving flights, customers will get information such as when the flight is on approach, and which baggage belt luggage will be delivered on.

The website also now has a chatbot feature, which will answer many of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) that customers might have. The chatbot window pops up automatically when the Dublin Airport website is accessed. Customers may simply type in the question, or browse the different categories to find an answer to the query. Customers can also subscribe to flight alerts through the chatbot feature, the Airport said.

Cunard to extend pause in operations amid ongoing travel restrictions

Cunard, the British luxury cruise line, and part of Carnival Corporation, has said that it has extended its pause in operations due to the ongoing travel constraints across the world.

According to the cruise line, voyages departing on board Queen Mary 2 up to and including May 28, 2021, and on-board Queen Elizabeth up to and including June 4, 2021, have been cancelled. Departures on Queen Victoria remain unaffected and are scheduled to resume May 17, 2021.

Customers who have had their voyage cancelled will receive a 125 percent Future Cruise Credit, providing an additional 25 percent on any amount paid, to redeem against a future voyage. The 125 percent Future Cruise Credit can be used on any new booking made by the end of December 2021 and on any voyage available at the time of booking. Voyages are currently available through to early 2023. Guests preferring a refund should complete the form on Cunard.com.

Cunard President Simon Palethorpe said: ‘Our extension to the pause in operations is the result of the ongoing restrictions on cruising in the UK and around the world, and recognizes the significant lead times to return to service once those restrictions are lifted.

‘We are extremely sorry for the disappointment we know this will cause. We know how much careful consideration goes into planning a holiday and apologize that our guests now have to wait a little longer to travel once again with Cunard.

‘Guests are able to use their enhanced 125% Future Cruise Credit to book for later in 2021 or for one of our newly announced 2022 voyages. The tremendous response already to our 2022 voyages, put on sale just a few weeks ago, clearly demonstrates our guests are eagerly anticipating travelling again with us. We’re equally looking forward to the time when we can welcome back our guests.’