South's cruise ships banned from docking in Scotland

Passengers on UK cruises have been dealt a blow after the Scottish Government ruled that planned visits to ports in the country were now banned under coronavirus restrictions.

A number of sailings from Southampton are due to include visits to Scottish ports in the coming weeks.

The ships will now sail past them without stopping. 

Southampton-based cruise ship MSC Virtuosa, first left port on 20 May for a four-night cruise along the south coast.

It is now docked in Liverpool, but has been told passengers won't be able to disembark in Scotland as planned.

Guests on board the cruise ship MSC Virtuosa Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

It was due to dock at Greenock on Wednesday at about 9.30am, departing at 8pm the same day.

The seven-night cruise is then due to drop anchor at Belfast, Southampton and the Isle of Portland before returning to Greenock and with a final stop at Liverpool the following day.

The travel industry say it’s another hit, while health officials say it is vital to stop the spread of coronavirus.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "We fully understand the impact of the current restrictions on domestic cruises.

"This decision has been informed by the combination of risks that exists between both cruises and the wider travel context, including the current trajectory of Covid infections and the unknowns around the new Delta variant, in addition to the potential for high risk of uncontained rapid transmission on the cruise."