Brexit and Cruising: Your Questions Answered

With October 31 (the agreed departure date) drawing closer and closer with each passing day, British travellers are left with many unanswered questions. Understandably, those of you who have already booked their cruises are getting worried.

Whether you’ll continue to sail stress-free or choppy waters await you after the UK finally leaves the EU is difficult to say at this time. However, to allay some of your fears and concerns, this article addresses three of the burning questions on most holidaymakers’ minds.

How Will Brexit Affect My Cruise Holiday?

So far, there have not been any indications that cruise operations will not go on as usual. UK passengers need not worry as they will still be under the protection of EU regulations regarding the rights of maritime passengers. Given that most of the rules and regulations under which cruises operate are international, and have been incorporated into UK law, exit from the European Union is unlikely to have significant effects on cruise operations for the foreseeable future.

In case an exit deal is agreed by the government, you will continue with your holiday plans as the UK will then enter a transition period. However, it is highly recommended that you contact your cruise line as well as insurance provider so that you can be informed about any potential changes to the terms and conditions of booking and travel insurance provisions. It is also important to undertake an online search for travel information from your cruise operator before leaving for your cruise holidays.

For those who have booked cruises but require flights to get to and from the point of departure, the good news is that flights will continue to operate as usual during the period of transition if an exit deal is agreed. Travellers will also be compensated, thanks to the Union’s legislation on passenger rights, if their flights are delayed or cancelled. The EU and UK also have a reciprocal arrangement for UK airlines to continue operating even if a deal is not struck.

Will My Passport Still Be Valid?

The answer is yes. According to FCO’s recent update, however, in the event of a no-deal exit, UK citizens will need to have at least 6 months validity remaining on their passports for them to travel to EU nations for short stays. It is important to note that any extra months left on your passport as a result of an early renewal won’t count starting September 10, 2018.

You could previously have up to nine months of validity left. For British citizens planning to tour Europe, this means that with carried-over months, they would need around fifteen months left on their passports to travel. You will need to first check if your passport requires to be updated before leaving for your cruise holiday.

However, as it is, there are no other changes regarding the use of your current passport. It is possible that it is after the UK has left the EU, and the current passports have expired, that they will be replaced with new ones that do not have the EU wording on their front covers.

Will Cruise Costs Be Affected?

While no one is sure, it is possible that the cost of cruising will increase regardless of whether a deal is agreed or not. Fuel costs are likely to rise due to the weakening of the sterling which would potentially increase excursion costs. Various cruise lines have already started making contingency plans to ensure that passengers do not incur additional costs following Brexit. Some cruise lines such as P&O Cruises, Saga Cruises, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, and Fred. Olsen has already moved to reassure their customers that there will be no additional surcharges once bookings have been confirmed.

With all onboard sterling prices, passengers’ onboard spending won’t be affected by any exchange rates change that would be occasioned by Brexit. Fred. Olsen Cruises is also promising to give their passengers a full refund as well as a free cruise in case any of cruise cancellation as a result of the UK’s exit from EU.

Others such as Scenic Ocean Cruises have assured their customers that there will be no supplements, surcharges, or price increments regardless of the outcome of Brexit. Customers will also continue to enjoy the benefits of the line’s loyalty program, Scenic Club, which rewards regular travellers in addition to having full financial protection that is provided by IATA, ATOL, and ABTA.

Well, as of October 31 fast approaches, there is a lot of debate on what a deal or no-deal scenario means to UK citizens travelling to Europe. For those who have booked cruises, or are planning to, it would be a good idea to talk to your insurance provider and cruise line to get the latest information on potential changes that would affect your travel plans. You should also check whether your passport requires to be updated in advance to avoid travel complications. Brexit or no Brexit, you have no excuse not to be prepared for all eventualities.

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