UK holidaymakers are being urged by the Government to avoid travelling on cruise ships.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a statement on Thursday evening advising people not to embark on sailings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This comes after the blanket advice against all non-essential foreign travel was lifted for dozens of destinations on Saturday.
Give operators and customers clarity over when it will be safe to rebook
The FCO pledged to “continue to review” its position on cruises, which is “based on medical advice” from Public Health England.
It insisted it “continues to support the Department for Transport’s work with industry for the resumption of international cruise travel”.
The travel advice means many holidaymakers with future bookings risk having their trips cancelled.
Rory Boland, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “The FCO’s advice against cruise ship travel will lead to most upcoming cruises being cancelled or postponed.
“Most cruise holiday customers should be legally entitled to a cash refund within 14 days under the package travel regulations, but as we’ve seen across the travel industry recently, operators facing a surge in refund claims are often taking longer to return customers’ money to them.
“If refunds will be delayed, cruise companies must urgently let customers know and give a clear timetable for when money will be returned.
“The FCO should also extend its warning to include a definitive date, to give operators and customers clarity over when it will be safe to rebook.”
In March, the FCO advised Britons aged 70 and over, and those with some underlying health conditions, to avoid cruise ships.
Early in the pandemic, there were numerous reports of cruise ships being hit by outbreaks.
The UK’s biggest cruise line, P&O Cruises, has suspended all sailings until mid-October.