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.

Newcastle Airport to meet new Netherlands travel requirements

Newcastle Airport has recently said that that all passengers travelling to the Netherlands from the UK will have to show two negative COVID-19 tests.

The Government guidelines permit travelling for a number of reasons including for work and education. In addition to the PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival, passengers will also be required to take a Rapid Antigen test at the Airport immediately before departure.

KLM currently operates up to two flights a day from Newcastle Airport to Amsterdam and to onwards connections. The Airport launched an onsite COVID-19 testing clinic in November and has confirmed that it is one of a few airports in the UK that will be able to provide pre-departure Rapid Antigen tests for passengers.

Richard Knight, Chief Operating Officer at Newcastle Airport, said: ‘With only 36 hours’ notice we have been able to work with our testing provider NPH Group to set up a brand new clinic which will provide Rapid Antigen COVID-19 tests for passengers travelling to the Netherlands.

‘The KLM route to Amsterdam is a vital connection between the North East and the rest of the world therefore it is imperative that passengers who need to travel for essential reasons are able to.

‘Passengers travelling tomorrow or in the coming days and weeks can find more information on the Rapid Antigen testing procedure on the NPH Group website and also pre-book their appointment.’

Newcastle Airport has worked with two local medical companies to provide a convenient and efficient on-site testing clinic for passengers. Passengers flying to Amsterdam with KLM are advised to pre-book a Rapid Antigen appointment prior to their flight on the NPH Group website: https://www.nph-group.co.uk/

British Airways announces flight schedule for November

British Airways has said that it will operate 52 long haul routes alongside its short haul network this month as the airline continues to adapt to changing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline will continue to operate to US gateways including New York JFK, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco, with Newark added to the schedule. Flights to the Caribbean continue to destinations including Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia, and flights will operate to destinations across Africa, the Middle East and Asia such as Dubai, Mumbai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Flights to Santiago, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, are also set to return.

Sean Doyle, CEO of British Airways, said: ‘We continue to connect Britain with a substantial number of destinations across the globe and customers tell us they are reassured by the safety measures we’ve put in place, including personal protection packs, screens, sanitiser stations, adapted meal services and customers and colleagues in masks.

‘The risk of contracting Covid-19 during a flight is incredibly low. IATA, the global aviation industry body, suggests that since the start of 2020 there have been as few as 44 cases of Covid-19 linked to flights. Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled. This figure amounts to one case for every 27 million travellers.

‘We believe the best way to get people flying again is to introduce reliable and affordable testing before flying. When this happens and demand returns, we stand ready to reintroduce even more destinations to our network, and carry on connecting even more families, friends and businesses.’

British Airways will also continue to serve domestic destinations including Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Newquay. In continental Europe, cities like Paris, Munich, Geneva and Amsterdam, among others, will be connected to Heathrow by frequent, direct flights. There are also regular flights to beach destinations such as Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

The operation of any flight is subject to changes, international restrictions and government approval, British Airways said, adding that the airline has a range of measures to keep customers safe when they travel, both at the airport and on board.

Eastern Airways announces new Newquay-Teesside route

Eastern Airways has said that it will operate a new route between Cornwall Airport Newquay and Teesside International Airport, commencing July 6, 2020.

The route will be operated up to three times per week, initially running on Mondays and Fridays, with an additional Sunday service added from later July. The new route marks a successful start in Cornwall Airport Newquay’s route network recovery after the impact of COVID-19 and the collapse of regional airline Flybe.

This latest route news follows the airline saying last week that it is resuming flying on a number of routes across the UK from 22 June. From Teesside, the airline will operate daily Monday to Friday services to Aberdeen and Belfast City from June 22, with the route running from the North East to London City commencing on July 6.

Pete Downes, Managing Director, Cornwall Airport Newquay, commented, ‘We’re delighted that Eastern Airways will be launching services between Cornwall Airport Newquay and Teesside this summer. Given the long distance and journey time of existing transport modes, improving air connectivity between Cornwall and the North of England is vitally important in supporting the recovery of our visitor economy and wider business community, not just as lockdown restrictions begin to ease, but over the long term. We look forward to working with Eastern to make the route a success.’

Roger Hage, General Manager Commercial and Operations, Eastern Airways added ‘As a UK regional airline we are all about connecting the various business and tourism sectors which are vital to the economic recovery of the UK, so delighted to take this first step in serving Newquay from the North-East of England when UK travel begins to return for the summer peak. This will offer a quick and easy Cornish staycation destination to our growing Teesside International network.’

As Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted, services will be carefully re-introduced with extensive cleaning measures on-board and throughout the airport. A full anti-bacterial wipe down of all touch points between every service operated and also a comprehensive aircraft night-stop sanitisation will be implemented. Initially Eastern Airways’ usual complimentary on-board service will be limited to ensure reduced customer contact, the airline noted.

96% of global destinations impose travel restrictions in response to Covid-19, UNWTO

According to research by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), as of April, 6, 96 percent of all worldwide destinations have introduced travel restrictions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As the United Nation’s specialised agency for tourism, UNWTO has been regularly monitoring travel facilitation and observing a continuous trend towards more openness. However, Covid-19 changed it all. Studying the scale of disruption caused by COVID-19 to global tourism, the report said that almost all global destinations have imposed restrictions on travel since January 2020 as part of efforts to mitigate the pandemic. Around 90 destinations have completely or partially closed their borders to tourists, while a further 44 are closed to certain tourists depending on country of origin.

The UNWTO global review found that the global regions are largely consistent in their response to COVID-19. In Africa, Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East, 100 percent of destinations have adopted COVID-19-related restrictions since January 2020. In the Americas, 92 percent of destinations have taken similar steps; while in Europe, it is 93 percent as of April 6.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: ‘COVID-19 has impacted travel and tourism like no other event before in history. Governments have put public health first and introduced full or partial restrictions on travel. With tourism suspended, the benefits the sector brings are under threat: millions of jobs could be lost, and progress made in the fields of equality and sustainable economic growth could be rolled back. UNWTO therefore calls on governments to continuously review travel restrictions and ease or lift them as soon as it is safe to do so.’

The research identifies four key types of restrictive measures, such as: complete or partial closure of borders to tourists; destination-specific travel restrictions, the total or partial suspension of flights; and other measures, including requirements for quarantine or self-isolation, medical certificates, invalidation or suspension of visa issuances etc.

According to the report, destinations have already started adjusting their restrictive measures as the situation has evolved. ‘UNWTO will continue to regularly track and analyse the evolution of travel restrictions, in an effort to effectively support the responsible but also timely recovery of the tourism sector,’ it said.