(Noon BST) -- Cruise lines are reporting a huge increase in both enquiries and bookings for Greece and Cyprus cruises following yesterday's announcement about the relaxation of quarantine restrictions from July 19.
A number of lines, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line, Silversea and Seabourn are basing ships in the region this summer, in addition to Greece-based lines Celestyal Cruises and Variety.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed yesterday double vaccinated adults and children will not have to quarantine when returning from Amber List countries, which includes Greece, from July 19th.
Lines have been holding back from selling to Brits while quarantine restrictions have been in place and many ships have been sailing less than half full, including Celebrity's newest ship, Celebrity Apex.
Royal Caribbean has Jewel of the Seas based in Limassol, Cyprus, which starts revenue cruises tomorrow (July 10) after a successful two-night sailing yesterday.
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Stuart Byron, Sales Director UK, Ireland and Spain, Royal Caribbean International said: "We had seen increased UK sales momentum in anticipation of this news and, of course, we’ve seen a fantastic response following the announcement yesterday."
Norwegian Cruise Line is due to start sailing from July 25 on Norwegian Jade, its first ship to restart sailing since March 2020.
Eamonn Ferrin, NCL Vice President of International Business, said the line was seeing significant pent up demand:
"We wholeheartedly welcome yesterday’s announcement. The statement brings clarity to those eagerly anticipating return to travel and dreaming of breaking free.
"Opening up safe travel without the threat of quarantine is a big step forward. At NCL, we are seeing pent-up demand with new and loyal guests planning ahead and giving themselves something to look forward to."
Celebrity Cruises VP & MD EMEA Jo Rzymowska said: "The easing of travel restrictions is a welcome update for us at Celebrity Cruises. Our latest ship, Celebrity Apex, started sailing from Athens last month with incredible success, with mainly Greek holiday-makers.
"From speaking with our guests and travel partners over the past few months, we know there is pent-up demand in the market. We have seen a positive increase in enquiries and bookings for holidays on Apex, in line with the government’s announcement, and we are expecting the increase in confidence to travel internationally to further generate a spike in bookings from Greece."
Chris Lorenzo, the UK Director of Variety Cruises, said:
"We've seen enquiries more than double today, and already have confirmed new bookings for our Greek island cruises. It's also great news for those with existing bookings, who are calling us to finalise their arrangements, including our assistance with vaccinations prior to travelling home."