Fred Olsen has announced that it will be extending its pause of operations until April 2021 as ongoing travel restrictions and advice continue to wreak havoc on the cruise industry.
The cruise line had originally looked to resume cruises in March, but has now pushed this back as part of a revised timetable.
The company’s new ship Borealis will be the first to return to sailing with her maiden cruise on April 23 as originally planned, sailing for six nights on a Scottish Lochs and Isles itinerary.
Cruise ship Bolette will follow on May 29, followed by Balmoral on June 9.
However, “due to having an extensive fly-cruise programme”, ship Braemar will remain in lay-up until 2022. (This usually means that while a ship isn’t sailing, the set up is ready so that it could return to service almost immediately).
At the time of writing, the Foreign Office continues to advise Brits against cruise ship travel on a sea-going ship. you can find out more in the latest FCDO cruise travel advice.
A number of cruise lines have pushed sailings back until around April and May 2021 – you can read more in our guide to when cruise lines plan to resume sailings.
Peter Deer, Managing Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “While it is regrettable that our pause in operations is longer than we originally anticipated, we have said right from the start that we will not resume sailing until we are confident that it is safe for us to do so, and we stand by that.
“The safety of our guests and crew remains our utmost priority, and it is important that we fully understand the advances in the roll-out of the vaccine, testing capabilities and other scientific developments and what they mean for how we can operate.
“This is not a process to be rushed, and we are confident that by deferring our return to sailing just a while longer, with our two new ships among the fleet, we can come back better and stronger than ever without compromising on guest experience.
“Braemar, which typically operates our Mediterranean and Caribbean fly-cruise programme in the winter, will remain in lay-up for next year. Initially, we believe it may be more complex for us to operate the planned fly cruise programme and we will therefore instead focus on our extensive ex-UK itineraries during 2021. The team here are already busy working on a host of exciting and immersive cruises for her return in Spring 2022 which make the most of her smaller size. These will be announced as part of our 2022/23 itinerary launch in March 2021.
“In the meantime, we can’t wait to welcome our guests and crew back on board from April next year.”