Brittany Ferries sails from Plymouth to Spain after eight-month layoff

After an eight-month layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brittany Ferries has finally sailed to Spain from Millbay Docks in Plymouth.

The first ferry left Millbay at 4:45pm on Sunday, June 6, with 807 passengers, 180 crew members and 421 vehicles making the voyage, before arriving in Santander at around 2pm on Monday afternoon.

The trip was undertaken by the company’s flagship ferry boat, the Pont-Aven, with spirits said to have been high among passengers and crew.

A Brittany Ferries spokesperson said: ‘It’s an exciting day here on the port. The sun is shining and it’s full of happy customers who are excited to be going on their holidays. There’s a real sense of normality in the air, as well as a sense of summer which has been much needed.’

At full capacity, the Pont-Aven can accommodate 2,400 passengers, 650 cars and has a total of 650 cabins, but in order to meet health requirements, the number of passengers allowed on board has been significantly reduced. Self-service restaurants have replaced A La Carte services and the main bars on all ships will not be open due to a change in the French government’s guidance.

While the sailing was seen as a step towards normality, passengers must still adhere to a number of Covid guidelines, including the wearing of masks, social distancing and utilising sanitising stations on deck. The ferry boat’s shops cinemas, playrooms and video games rooms have now opened with limited capacity, and with some on-board entertainment also now available.

Ryanair launches new routes this summer as Europe opens up

Ryanair, the Irish low fares airline, has announced a new route from Manchester to Verona, operating twice weekly from July, as part of Ryanair’s UK Summer 2021 Schedule.

Additionally, Ryanair has announced a new route from Teesside to Faro operating twice a week from June 16. This new route expands Ryanair’s offer from Teesside following the airline’s return to the region this Summer with routes to Alicante, Faro and Palma de Mallorca from June, and to Corfu from July.

Alongside the announcement, Ryanair has launched a seat sale with fares available from GBP19.99 for travel until the end of October 2021, which must be booked by midnight Thursday, May 20 only on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair’s Director of Commercial, Jason McGuinness, said: ‘As vaccination rollout programmes continue in the coming months and with the summer season just around the corner, we are delighted to announce this new route from Manchester to Verona, operating twice weekly from July as part of our UK summer’21 schedule.

Mindful that Covid restrictions change regularly, 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 up to two times with a zero-change fee until the end of October 2021.’

Commenting on the Teeside route, McGuinness, added: ‘We are very pleased to announce a new route from Teesside to Faro on the back of the UK’s green list announcement. Teesside customers will now have the choice of four popular destinations this summer, with flights to Alicante, Faro and Palma de Mallorca from June, and Corfu from July.

Teesside Airport continues to deliver efficient operations and competitive airport charges, allowing for long-term traffic growth and new routes.’

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added: ‘This is fantastic news, and yet another vote of confidence in our airport. Of course, it has only been made possible because of the tremendous take-up of Ryanair’s flights to Alicante and Palma by local people.

We’ve been working hard over the past few months to transform our terminal, get it fit for the 21st century and make it easier and smoother than ever to pass through. We can’t wait to welcome people back through our doors for these great summer breaks – and our growing slate of other domestic and international flights.’

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays announce extension of Summer 2022 season to Menorca

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, the UK tour operator, has said that it has added more flights and holidays for customers looking for a holiday in Menorca in April 2022, advancing the Summer 2022 season.

The company has announced destinations across the Mediterranean, including Menorca and the Balearic Islands, to meet demand from British holidaymakers by adding April services to the island from Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle and London Stansted Airport. Menorca is known for its natural beauty, secret beaches, and historic architecture outside of the main summer holiday season.

The new flights added are: Birmingham – additional services every Friday from April 8 to 22. Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle and London Stansted – additional services every Saturday from April 9 to 23.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: ‘We are seeing great demand from customers wanting to enjoy Menorca both in the peak summer season and outside of that period too. As ever, we respond very quickly to demand, and these additional flights gives our customers the opportunity to enjoy Menorca in April and over the Easter holidays. Working with our partners in Menorca, we look forward to filling our hotels with happy holidaymakers as soon as we can get flying again.’

Last week Jet2holidays announced strong demand for Summer 2022 holidays in response to the assurance that its ATOL protected package holidays offer. Bookings data from Jet2holidays shows that more people have already booked in some summer sun for the year ahead when compared to the same time in previous years. In addition to booking ahead, the data also reveals that the company is registering an increase in bookings for package holidays from July, which continues through the rest of the school holidays and Summer 2021.

According to the company, the demand for great value package holidays in Summer 2021 and Summer 2022 applies to Menorca. With more 2-5 star hotels on sale than ever on the island, the company also offers the freedom of a villa with all the benefits of a package holiday through Jet2Villas. This, combined with miles of coastline and resorts such as Cala Galdana, Son Bou, Cala’n Bosch and Punta Prima are becoming increasingly popular with customers, it said.

Jet2 launches two Italian destinations from Birmingham Airport for Summer 22

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, the UK-based leisure airline and package holiday company, has announced the launch of flights and holidays to Sicily and Sardinia from Birmingham Airport for Summer 22, giving customers across the region more choice of holiday options in Italy.

Jet2 will operate weekly Wednesday services to Sicily from May 4 through to October 26 from Birmingham Airport. Flights will operate to Catania Airport, opening up a range popular resorts on the east coast of the island.

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and is a popular destination with UK holidaymakers, offering everything from beach holidays to city breaks. Jet2holidays is launching package holidays to Sicily with a wide choice of beach resorts on sale including Taormina, Taormina Mare, Giardini Naxos, Syracuse, Cefalu and Campofelice Di Roccella. In addition, packages are also on sale through Jet2CityBreaks to the historic city of Catania.

Jet2 is also offering flights and holidays to Sardinia from Birmingham Airport with weekly Sunday services operating into Olbia Airport from May 29 to October 30. This opens up the east coast of Sardinia and a range of resorts that host some of the best beaches in Europe.

Further, families and groups can also choose the privacy of a villa holiday by booking through Jet2Villas. Resorts on sale in Sardinia include Porto Cervo, Baia Sardinia, Budoni, San Teodoro, Cannigione, San Pantaleo, Orosei and Pittulongu, as well as city breaks to Olbia.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, said: ‘We are continuing to see a great deal of demand for Summer 22 from Birmingham Airport, so we are adding Sicily and Sardinia to our programme to give customers and independent travel agents even more choice. These two stunning Italian islands offer local holidaymakers everything from culture and history to sun and glamour, and we are going on sale with a fantastic choice of flights, resorts and hotels. This means we now have seven Italian destinations on sale for Summer 22 from Birmingham Airport, and we know that these magical destinations, coupled with our award-winning flights and real package holidays, will be hugely popular with customers and independent travel agents alike.’

Tom Screen, Aviation Director of Birmingham Airport said: ‘It is great news that Jet2.com and Jet2holidays have added Sicily and Sardinia to their extensive holiday destinations list direct from Birmingham Airport. These two beautiful Italian islands are currently unserved from Birmingham Airport so this is the ideal time to plan that Summer 2022 getaway, that we know is very desperately needed. Booking with Jet2.com and Jet2holidays gives customers the ease and convenience of booking flights, hotels and transfers in all one place but with the reassurance that their holiday is ATOL protected.’

easyJet announces new summer routes from Bournemouth to Belfast and Edinburgh

easyJet has announced two new domestic routes from Bournemouth to Belfast and Edinburgh, offering customers in the Dorset region more domestic connections this summer to book a UK summer break.

The new flights will operate up to twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays to Belfast from May 26, and on Thursdays and Sundays to Edinburgh, with flights scheduled to take off from May 27, 2021 and continue throughout the summer. Flights are now on sale at easyJet.com with fares available from £22.99.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager said: ‘We’re delighted to offer two new domestic services from Bournemouth to Belfast and Edinburgh for the first time and are pleased to provide our customers in the region more choice for those looking for a long-awaited summer break. We remain committed to offering great value fares and more choice when for customer flying with us.

‘Our Protection Promise means that customers can book with confidence knowing that if they are unable to travel or their plans change so can their flights or holiday, and while the summer may be a little while off, we will be working around the clock to ensure we will be ready to ramp up our flights to reconnect friends and family or take them on long-awaited holiday to remember.’

Steve Gill, Managing Director of Bournemouth Airport, said: ‘The addition of Edinburgh and Belfast with easyJet rounds off an exciting week for Bournemouth Airport and the Dorset region, following the launch of our 2021-22 summer/winter schedule which now includes 32 destinations in 14 countries. We’re delighted to extend our flying programme with easyJet, with domestic routes in high demand for staycations and business links, all with the ease and convenience of flying from your local airport.’

easyJet and easyJet holidays have introduced flexible customer policies under a ‘Protection Promise’. This includes a Refund Guarantee for flights or holidays if they are cancelled plus a full refund for holidays if a customer changes their plan up to 28 days before. With the Travel Ban Protection customers can also receive a refund for non-cancelled flights if plans are impacted by travel bans in a regional or national lockdown; the Freedom To Change flights without a fee up to 14 days before departure, and change a holiday up to 28 days before departure. If quarantine measures come in to place last minute, the Quarantine Assurance also means impacted flights can be changed without a change fee. All holidays are covered under easyJet holidays’ Covid commitments if holidays cannot happen or are impacted by restrictions.

Jet2.com bookings to Turkey double as tourism reopens

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays, the UK-based leisure airline and holiday company, has said that it has registered an increase in customers booking flights and holidays as countries open up for travel after the Covid-19 lockdown.

Jet2.com and Jet2holidays has reported a 1,000 percent increase in bookings immediately following the UK Prime Minister’s announcement of an exit roadmap from lockdown, and customer demand is continuing. Since the exit plan, a number of countries across Europe and the Mediterranean, including Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Portugal, have announced that UK holidaymakers will be able to travel to these countries in summer.

According to Jet2, bookings to Turkey doubled after the Turkish Tourism Minister said that holidaymakers from the UK will be welcome this summer. In response to this demand, Jet2.com and Jet2holidays has put over 100 additional flights on sale to Turkey.

Extra capacity has been added to Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman with additional flights operating from late-June to late-October, with a focus on the late-Summer season.

Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: ‘Turkey has continued to be a popular choice, and the welcome news that UK holidaymakers can enjoy the Turkish sunshine this summer has translated into an immediate rush of bookings. We already have fantastic choice on sale to Turkey from across our network of UK bases, and these additional flights and holidays come in direct response to the demand that we have been seeing. Once again, customers are telling us that they want to get away, and once again we are quick to respond to that – giving customers and independent travel agents even more choice when it comes to getting away on a real package holiday.’

‘We know our customers want to get away and we know that our destinations are keen to welcome them. The UK government has shown that there is a clear ambition to reopen international travel in the coming months and we look forward to more detail in due course. This week marks one year since international travel was first shut down because of the pandemic, and there are sunnier skies ahead. As soon as travel reopens, we will be ready to take our customers on their well-deserved holidays.’

Princess Cruises to cancel vacations on roundtrip Southampton sailings

Princess Cruises, an international premium cruise line and tour company, has said that it will withhold its UK-based cruise vacations, sailing roundtrip from Southampton, through September 25, 2021 on Sky Princess, Regal Princess and Island Princess.

The move comes as the cruise company reviews its operations following the recent UK Government announcement on the roadmap to ease lockdown and related international travel restrictions, the company said. For UK guests, Princess Cruises will launch a series of new short cruises departing in late- summer on Regal Princess and Sky Princess from Southampton that will go on sale later this month.

‘We share in our guests’ disappointment over these cancelled voyages, and we appreciate the continued understanding and cooperation from our loyal guests and travel advisors,’ said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. ‘As we prepare our ships for a return to service, we remain in close contact with the UK Government to monitor the latest travel guidance for international guests.’

The company said that for customers booked on a cancelled voyage, Princess will offer to move guests to the equivalent cruise in 2022. The rebooking process will have the added benefit of protecting the guests’ 2021 fare on their 2022 voyage. Alternatively, customers can choose a future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100 percent of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 10 percent of the cruise fare paid (minimum $25 ) or a full refund to the original form of payment.

For guests currently booked on a cancelled voyage where there is no suitable cruise available in 2022, guests will automatically receive a refundable future cruise credit (FCC) equivalent to 100 percent of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 10 percent of the cruise fare paid (minimum $25). Alternatively, guests can request a full refund to the original form of payment.

Customers are required to send the through an online form by April 15, 2021 or guests will automatically receive the FCC option. FCCs can be used on any cruises booked by and sailing by December 31, 2022, Princess said.

The latest information and instructions for booked guests affected by these cancellations, and more information on FCCs and refunds, can be found online at Information on Impacted & Cancelled Cruises, it added.

easyJet and easyJet holidays offers new Greece routes from Bristol for Summer 2021

easyJet and easyJet holidays have announced the launch of new flights and holidays from Bristol Airport to the Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini for this summer.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager, said: ‘We know that people want to travel as soon as they can and as soon as it is safe to do so and so we want to ensure they have even more destinations to choose from when making a booking for this summer.’

The new route from Bristol to Santorini will commence on May 31, 2021. Flights are available from £30.99, or a seven-night package holiday including flights, hotel, bags and transfers can be booked for £373 per person. The route to Mykonos will operate from Bristol starting May 28, 2021, with fares available from £30.99 and holidays available from £373 per person, with a range of hotels including the adults only 4-star Andronikos hotel. All easyJet holidays can be booked with a deposit of GBP60 per person.

Flights to both new destinations will operate once a week throughout the summer, providing anyone travelling from the South West with a direct connection to the popular Greek resorts. The new route joins the existing easyJet routes from Bristol to Athens, Corfu, Crete, Kefalonia, Kos, Preveza, Rhodes and Zakynthos. The airline has also added more seats on summer routes from Bristol to Turkey, with additional departures on Mondays to Antalya and on Tuesdays and Fridays to Dalaman as well as on Sundays to the Greek Island of Corfu.

easyJet holidays offers seven nights at the 3-star Olia Hotel, Mykonos, on a room only basis for £373 per person including flights from Bristol airport, 23kg of luggage per person and transfers on October 22, 2021.

easyJet holidays also offers seven nights at the 5-star Splendour Resort, Santorini, on a bed and breakfast basis for £595 per person including flights from Bristol airport, 23kg of luggage per person and transfers on July 12, 2021. Bookings can be made at easyjet.com/en/holidays

Dave Lees, CEO, Bristol Airport said: ‘We are delighted with easyJet’s announcement adding two new destinations from Bristol Airport to the Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini and increasing capacity to Antalya and Dalaman in Turkey and the Greek island of Corfu for summer 2021. This further increases the choice of destinations and flight options available to passengers in the region choosing to fly from their local airport. This shows the confidence in the region and when the time is right and travel restrictions ease, Bristol Airport will be ready to provide the essential air connectivity, which is what our customers are telling us they want. We will continue to work with easyJet, enhancing and developing the route network for the future.’

easyJet and easyJet holidays have introduced flexible customer policies under its ‘Protection Promise’, which includes a Refund Guarantee for flights or holidays if they are cancelled plus a full refund for holidays if a customer changes their plan up to 28 days before. With the Travel Ban Protection customers can also receive a refund for non-cancelled flights if plans are impacted by travel bans in a regional or national lockdown. Customers also have the Freedom to Change flights without a fee up to 14 days before departure, and can change a holiday up to 28 days before departure; and if quarantine measures come in to place at the last minute, the Quarantine Assurance allows changing impacted flights without a change fee. All holidays are covered under easyJet holidays’ Covid commitments if holidays cannot proceed, or are impacted by restrictions.

Cornwall Airport Newquay announces Summer 2021 services

Cornwall Airport Newquay is preparing to welcome passengers back to the Airport announcing connections around the UK, Europe and beyond, for Summer 2021.

While Cornwall Airport currently remains closed, the teams at the Airport and Cornwall Council have been working with the Department for Transport to ensure a safe reopening once lockdown restrictions are lifted. The new four-year London PSO (public service obligation) route is expected to be announced in the coming weeks and will commence operations on March 28 2021. The teams are working to ensure the London route serves both Cornish residents travelling to London for business and leisure and inbound tourists to the Cornish coastline.

When the Airport reopens, Ryanair will resume its popular routes to Alicante and Faro in March. Cornwall Airport is also expecting the return of the Aer Lingus route to Dublin, as well as the Eastern Airways’ routes to Manchester, Teesside and Leeds-Bradford.

In addition, Cornwall’s newest airline partner Loganair is expected to commence operations in March. The Scottish airline will be reconnecting Cornwall to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Aberdeen as well as operating routes to Manchester and Teesside alongside the current Eastern Airways services.

Later in the summer, Blue Islands will return to the Airport to operate routes to Jersey and Guernsey, providing a link for holidaymakers wishing to visit the Channel Islands or Cornwall.

Further, the Airport is expected to resume its European connections to Dusseldorf (with Eurowings) and Copenhagen (with SAS) this summer. The route to the Isles of Scilly with operator Skybus will now have a codeshare agreement with Loganair, making Scilly more accessible than ever before for customers.

The summer 2021 schedule at Cornwall Airport Newquay will be expanded to include more popular destinations as new announcements are expected throughout the coming months, the Airport said.

MSC Cruises sails again after festive season layoff

MSC Grandiosa, Swiss-based MSC Cruises’ flagship, departed last night (January 24) from the port of Genoa in Italy to resume as planned regular 7-night cruises in the Mediterranean after a short pause of operations during the holiday period.

The ship had temporarily suspended her sailing as a result of the Italian decree that restricted movement within the country. MSC Grandiosa first welcomed guests back on board in August 2020 and the company says that feedback from the more than 30,000 guests who have boarded so far has been extremely positive, so much so that some guests have been choosing to extend their stay on board by one or more weeks. It added that its health and safety protocol helped to set the standard for the industry and reemphasised its safety record.

The protocol, which is unique in the hospitality industry and has been approved by national authorities in Italy, Greece and Malta, is being used as the basis to inform and support plans to restart cruising in other parts of the world. Prior to embarkation, all guests pass through a series of health checks, including COVID-19 testing for all guests and crew, as part of MSC Cruises comprehensive health and safety protocol, devised by the company with the support of international experts and approved by the relevant authorities in the countries visited by MSC Cruises ships currently or due to be at sea. The health and safety measures also include a dedicated response plan that can be activated in collaboration with the authorities.

MSC Cruises’ health and safety protocol has been designed to respond to the situation ashore even while it evolves, and since November last year some of the measures were enhanced, including the introduction of mid-cruise testing for guests and weekly testing for crew as well as further enhanced hygiene and sanitation measures. Everyone on board observes social distancing as well as wearing masks in public areas, and the guest technology has been leveraged to facilitate onboard contact tracing. To preserve a safe bubble on board the ship, guests only go ashore as part of protected shore excursions, so that they can be protected even while ashore by measures similar to those on board.

MSC Grandiosa, launched in November 2019, offers a wide range of experiences for guests. The company says that whilst on board, guests can relax with total peace of mind and safely enjoy a range of different activities, all adapted to meet the current health and safety measures, whilst still allowing guests to have a memorable and rich experience.