Folkestone-based Saga tells cruise ship passengers they must have vaccine before travelling on its Spirit of Adventure or Spirit of Discovery ships

Cruise ship passengers travelling with Saga this summer are being told they must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The Folkestone-based travel and insurance giant said it had delayed the restart of its cruise ship in order to ensure all travellers can get the jab.

Saga's Spirit of Discovery will only accept those who have had their jabs
Saga's Spirit of Discovery will only accept those who have had their jabs

The vaccine programme is currently being rolled out across the UK.

Cruises were hit hard by the pandemic with vessels forced to dock after a spate of high-profile cases where the virus spread rapidly among passengers while at sea.

And with Saga catering for the over-50s, it hopes all passengers will receive the jabs over the coming months.

In a statement, it said all travellers booked onto cruises must have had both jabs at least 14 days prior to travel.

It added: "Many of our guests amongst the first groups of people being offered the vaccine.

"It is with this in mind that we have once more reviewed our health and safety procedures to ensure we are providing the safest possible cruise experience. We have taken the decision to introduce the requirement that all guests must be fully vaccinated against Covid‑19 at least 14 days before sailing with us.

"In order to allow our guests sufficient time to be fully vaccinated, we have decided to delay the restart of our cruise programme which was due to commence on April 3 with Spirit of Discovery. Instead our programme will begin with Spirit of Adventure’s inaugural voyage on May 4 and our secrets of Corsica and Sardinia cruise aboard Spirit of Discovery will now sail on June 2. We will be contacting all guests affected to discuss their options."

Saga was forced to lay off 300 staff last year due to the impact of the pandemic on its business although received a £100million investment boost when its former chief, Roger De Haan invested heavily in the firm he sold for £1.4billion in 2004 and returned as its non-executive chairman.

The government has previously said that it was 'looking at the technology' when it cane to the question of providing people with some form of 'immunity passport'.

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