The coronavirus has caused travel mayhem this year, forcing many UK residents to cancel or postpone their holidays.

While travelling abroad is now permitted, the return of cruise holidays isn’t likely to be on the cards any time soon.

Am I allowed to go on a cruise holiday?

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a statement on 9 July advising UK holidaymakers to avoid travelling on cruise ships due to the pandemic.

The news comes just after the ban against all non-essential international travel from England was lifted for more than 50 countries on 4 July.

New travel advice from the FCO states, “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against cruise ship travel at this time.

“This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.

“The government will continue to review its cruise ship travel advice based on the latest medical advice.

“If you have future cruise travel plans, you should speak to your travel operator, or the travel company you booked with, for further advice.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to support the Department for Transport’s work with industry for the resumption of international cruise travel.”

Previous advice issued by the FCO on 12 March said that British nationals aged seven and above, as well as those with underlying health conditions, should not travel on cruise ships.

What does it mean for planned holidays?

The updated travel advice means that many who have future holidays booked on a cruise ship risk having their trips cancelled or postponed.

Responding to the update, Rory Boland, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel said, "The FCO's advice against cruise ship travel will lead to most upcoming cruises being cancelled or postponed.

"Most cruise holiday customers should be legally entitled to a cash refund within 14 days under the package travel regulations, but as we've seen across the travel industry recently, operators facing a surge in refund claims are often taking longer to return customers' money to them.

"If refunds will be delayed, cruise companies must urgently let customers know and give a clear timetable for when money will be returned.

"The FCO should also extend its warning to include a definitive date, to give operators and customers clarity over when it will be safe to rebook."

P&O Cruises, the biggest cruise line in the UK, has suspended all of its sailings until mid-October.