by Donald Wood
Last updated: 9:14 AM ET, Tue March 16, 2021
Viking Cruises announced plans to restart limited operations in May 2021 with three special sailings along the coast of England.
The returning eight-day ocean voyages-dubbed England's Scenic Shores-will be available exclusively for residents of the United Kingdom and sail roundtrip from Portsmouth, with departures on May 22, May 29 and June 5.
Passengers sailing with Viking on the itineraries will be onboard the cruise line's newest ship, Viking Venus, which is scheduled for delivery in April. Pre-registration for the England's Scenic Shores voyages is currently open only to past guests, but information about when bookings open to the general public will be shared in the coming weeks.
"We welcome the UK Government's support for the return of safe domestic cruises as an important component in the travel industry's recovery," Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said. "In recognition of this support, and to celebrate the fact we have a British godmother-the esteemed broadcaster and journalist Anne Diamond-we have chosen to name our new ship, Viking Venus, in the UK on May 17."
"We are in a position to restart operations quickly and to start sailing again in May because we have kept our ships crewed during warm lay-up throughout the past 12 months," Hagen continued. "We have been implementing our additional protocols, including daily quick and easy non-invasive saliva PCR tests for our crew, for almost six months now."
While Viking's previously scheduled sailings through May 31 remain canceled, the English Government recently revealed it would allow the resumption of domestic cruises beginning in May.
Passengers will experience Viking's extensive health and safety program, where onboard laboratories will administer COVID-19 tests to all guests and crew members every day. The ships will also boast sanitization and physical distancing measures.
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