he cruise industry is lobbying the government with “powerful arguments” against the blanket ban on cruising, according to the chairman of Carnival UK.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

has advised against cruise ship travel since mid-March, but David Dingle is calling on the government to let the industry show that it is safe. Speaking before the prime minister announced a new

month-long lockdown starting this week, he said: “We’re the only means of transport that is covered by a Foreign Office travel advisory – we’re being treated as a destination. “But if you treat [cruising] as a destination, give us a

travel corridor. If you’re treating us as a means of transport, treat us like any other means of transport. There are some very powerful arguments here. “Because of the bubble that a cruise ship provides,

and the fact that it is so highly regulated in every possible way, frankly, at the moment, it’s the safest form of travel you could have. We just want to get on and be able to demonstrate that.” He acknowledged the rise in Covid-19 infections

across Europe but said the UK government could better support the travel industry, particularly with more testing.

David Dingle

NEWS acterised the the mood of leading cruise figures at last week’s virtual event. Samantha Mayling reports

Dingle: We must pressurise government to lift cruise ban

“[Cruising’s comeback] hasn’t been helped by the rising

scale of the second wave in the UK, and that’s common to almost the whole of Europe,” he said. Dingle said the cruise sector must “apply a certain

amount of political persuasion” to seal agreement about the external conditions necessary for the ban to be lifted. “Intrinsically, we firmly believe that the cruise industry can manage Covid,” he added.

‘Cruise comeback will be strongest of all travel sectors’ uising with confidence

cruising on our ships once again, we can show that you can take a cruise and be safe. Fred Olsen Cruise Lines aims to resume

cruises in February with Balmoral. Managing director Peter Deer said: “We

will make it as safe as possible and ‘build’ a big bubble over the ship.” He said there had been “extremely strong

bookings” for 2021 cruises before the second spike of Covid-19 but demand had dropped recently amid rising infections. He urged agents to highlight the flexibility of cruise lines’ booking conditions.

Pent-up consumer demand and collaboration among cruise lines means the sector is ready to bounce back strongly, say industry bosses. Bernard Carter, senior vice-

president and managing director at Oceania Cruises, said: “The cruise family, as a community, has started to rally now collectively against the vilification of the cruise industry over the past 10 months. “The demand we’re seeing, and

the appreciation we’re seeing from our travel partners and from our guests, is going to come to the fore. “Cruise is going to be the

strongest bounce-back of all the sectors in the industry.” Oceania’s Sirena Avalon Waterways chief

executive Giles Hawke said: “The work that cruise lines have done,

both on the oceans and the rivers, is way over and above what anybody else in the travel industry is doing, whether it be hotels, airlines, or other types of transport. “Cruise is going to really win

when this comes back.” Jo Rzymowska, EMEA vice-

president and managing director at Celebrity Cruises, said: “There are still lots of ships on order. “There might be some delays…

but there is great confidence across the industry, so we are making sure that when we come back, the comeback is stronger than the setback. There is so much pent-up demand out there.”

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