Britons may be set for Canary Island cruise holidays by October but face strict rules

The Canary Islands could be set to welcome back cruises as early as the autumn, with Britons amongst those to be granted permission to sail. However strict new controls over passengers may alter the experience to cruise holidays of previous years.

Up to 500,000 passengers would be given the green light to fly from their local airport in their home country to the Canaries to embark on the cruise.

Each person wanting to take a cruise face being extensively screened to see if they fit requirements and the liners would be restricted to just 60 percent occupancy.

Meanwhile, in a bid to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the crews of the vessels would be prohibited from going ashore at the base ports.

The cruises would be confined to the Canary Islands only, travelling between the likes of Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and La Palma.

The proposal would have to be approved by Spain and the cruise liners would have to meet all the coronavirus safety standards and provide medical insurance for tourists.

The ships themselves would be subject to rigorous inspections though the issue of whether or not passengers would need to take coronavirus tests has not yet been decided.

It is hoped that the start date for the scheme could be as early as October.

Canary Island public works and transport chief, Sebastián Franquis revealed the new concept after a meeting in Gran Canaria with the presidents of the port authorities of Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

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“It’s about opening a very important economic activity for the Canary Islands but it must have all the sanitary requirements,” he said.

The meeting was conducted following a request of several cruise companies local to the holiday region.

The aim would be to win back at least 40 percent of cruise tourism for the autumn and winter season following the disruption caused by the pandemic.

“The Canary Islands offers a guarantee and we have magnificent data from the health point of view to be able to carry out safe tourism in our community,” said Mr Franquis.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continues to advise against all nonessential travel to Spain, including to the Canary Islands.

Spain was removed from the UK Government’s travel corridor list on July 26, meaning Britons travelling back to the UK from the holiday destination will need to quarantine for two weeks on return to the UK.

The Canary Islands were added a few days after the initial removal of Spain from the UK’s travel corridor list.

The move came following a resurgence of coronavirus cases in several regions in Spain including Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia.

The FCO explains: “From July 27, the FCO advise against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country.

“This advice is based on evidence of increases in cases of COVID-19 in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia (which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona).

“The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave at this time. Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus.

“If you are returning from Spain you will be required to self-isolate on your return to the UK, but the FCO is not advising you to cut short your visit. You should contact your tour operator or airline if you have any questions about your return journey.”

Though it has given no indication as to if or when Spain will be added to the travel corridor list, the FCO does note that it continually reassesses the list.

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