Cunard accused of ‘ruining Christmas’ for families after tough vaccination rules

Grant Shapps warns travellers to hold off on booking travel tests

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Although the UK has started vaccinating under 18s, the rollout is still ongoing and only one dose of vaccine is approved for 12-17 year olds. There is no vaccine currently approved for children under 12 in the UK.

The cruise line introduced the new rules a fortnight ago, which mean children will have to be double-vaccinated to travel.

Before the regulations were changed, adults already had to be double vaccinated to travel on a Cunard cruise ship.

However, previously children were able to show a negative PCR result to travel if they had not been vaccinated.

Under the new rules, children from countries such as the US and Germany where many have been double-vaccinated should be able to travel.

For families in the UK, the new regulations will make holidays much more difficult as a double vaccine dose is not approved for children in the UK.

Children that have received one dose of a Covid vaccine will not count as vaccinated under Cunard’s rules.

Josephine Johnston, 67, and her husband Ray, 70, from Kent told The Telegraph their family holiday had been ruined by the rules.

The pair said they were forced to cancel their £20,000 family holiday as their grandchildren would no longer be able to travel.

The family were due to travel to the Canary Islands for two weeks on the Queen Elizabeth ship with five relatives.

They said the trip had already been postponed to December 23, because of the pandemic.

Josephine told The Telegraph: “I feel very angry about this, not just for me but all the other families as well.

“It’s awful- they have ruined Christmas. We cannot book any other holidays at this short notice.

“Children have had enough to deal with during the pandemic, and they should not be made to feel guilty.”

A Cunard spokesman said: “We are sorry for any disappointment caused by our recently updated vaccination policy.

“Our health protocols are designed to adapt as needed to the changing public health situation related to Covid-19.

“We therefore continue to work hand in hand with the authorities and regional partners in the destinations we visit to ensure we comply with their evolving local protocols.

“Following a review of the current entry requirements of the ports on our planned itineraries over the coming months, it was necessary to make a change to our previously stated vaccination policy.”

At the start of the pandemic, there were many cases of Covid among cruise ships passengers.

The ships were dubbed “floating petri dishes” and some were barred from entering ports due to fears of spreading the virus.

Many cruise lines now require guests to be double-vaccinated although some companies allow children to show a negative test before boarding.

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