COVID: Round UK cruise passengers can't dock in Scotland due to coronavirus restrictions

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Cruise ship passengers travelling around the UK have been barred from docking in Scotland with just a few days' notice.

The cruise ship, called Virtuosa, left Liverpool on Tuesday and was due to stop off at Greenock in Inverclyde on Wednesday for half a day.

But its operator says the Scottish government's coronavirus rules block it from entering the port.

It would have been the first cruise ship to call at a Scottish port this year after other planned visits were cancelled.

In an email sent to passengers, which was seen by the Scottish Passenger Agents' Association (SPAA), the cruise operator said: "Due to the latest Scottish Government COVID-19 restrictions and regulations. We are sorry to inform you that the port call of Greenock has been cancelled.

"No guests are allowed to embark or disembark. This decision has been made by the Scottish government and is out of our control."

Scottish passengers were due to join the cruise in Greenock and the SPAA anticipated a third of those currently on board were expected to go ashore for excursions.

Michele Lister boarded the ship in Liverpool. She said: "We're not allowed to go into my own country which is really disappointing.

"The captain made an announcement over the Tannoy and said that due to the latest government announcement we were not going to be allowed to disembark in Greenock and we were going to remain in Liverpool one other night.

"There's about half a dozen people that I'm aware of onboard that are Scottish, and they want to show off to the English customers what Scotland's all about.

"I don't see why we're not allowed to go in our country - it's safer on here than it is to walk about the street in Glasgow, we had to do two PCR tests to get on board the ship."

The seven-night cruise was due to go from Scotland to Belfast, Southampton and the Isle of Portland.

An MSC spokeswoman said: "In light of recent information received, we are now awaiting further clarification from the relevant authorities in Scotland about the situation for cruising which regrettably means that we have had to cancel our proposed visit to Greenock tomorrow."

A Scottish government spokesperson said that domestic cruises can restart "when all of Scotland reaches Level 1".

"This decision has been informed by the combination of risks that exists between both cruises and the wider travel context, including the current trajectory of COVID-19 infections and the unknowns around the new Delta variant," the statement said.

"Affected passengers should contact the operator for further information regarding their trip."

On 2 June, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon delayed the easing of restriction for many parts of Scotland due to the spread of the Delta (Indian) Variant, which originated in India.

Glasgow, which is 25 miles from Greenock, moved down from Level 3 to Level 2 and Inverclyde is current in Level 1.

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