This is the first time that I have reproduced a press release, but the news is so significant that I don’t really want to improve. I will make my own comment at the end however. (cover photo by Richard Lovelock)
Fred. Olsen has become the first cruise line to complete an international voyage since the resumption of cruising, as Borealis returned to the UK from Iceland Monday 23rd August. New ship Borealis set sail for the rugged landscapes of Iceland on Saturday, 14th August with around 800 guests on board. It was the first international voyage to set sail from British waters since all UK cruise operators paused their operations in March 2020.
The cruise called into Reykjavík, Ísafjörður, Eyjafjörður and Seyðisfjörður, and guests were able to leave the ship and explore ashore in organised shore excursions.
Clare Ward, Director of Product and Customer Service at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:
“This is a big achievement not just for us, but for the cruise industry. Being the first international sailing, this cruise was not without its challenges, but we worked very closely with the Icelandic authorities to ensure all went smoothly and, of course, safely, both for our guests and crew and those living and working in the ports we visited.
“It is the first time in 17 months that anyone has been able to explore overseas on a cruise again, and our destinations team worked closely with our shore tour providers to help as many guests as possible have safe yet genuine experiences ashore and enjoy the natural wonders of Iceland. Of course, as a cruise line with a fleet of smaller ships, we know that the joy of the journey is just as important as the destination. Our journey planners curated an itinerary to showcase some of Iceland that is best seen from the water, from the rugged landscapes of Hornstrandir King and Queen Cliffs and scenic sailing into Seyðisfjörður, as well as some lovely sights of whales and other marine wildlife. This is a real milestone for Fred. Olsen, and we can’t wait to welcome guests back on board for international sailings throughout the rest of the year and beyond.”
There were a number of procedures that Fred. Olsen and guests needed to complete to make this sailing to Iceland possible, including pre-registration forms and testing prior to arrival into Iceland and before returning to the UK. All guests were also required to be fully vaccinated by the Icelandic government.
The cruise line currently has two ships sailing, Borealis and new flagship Bolette, both of which are offering more international sailings from September
Now for my own slant and comment. Well done to this cruise line for taking the imitative. There are only a limited number of destinations accessible to UK passengers in this way, with Spain, France and Portugal still on the amber list. The cruise lines are doing their best to anticipate easier cruising, publishing Autumn itineraries, but some of these are more in hope I suspect. It must be frustrating, resuming at lower economic capacity