The cruise industry is lobbying the government with “powerful arguments” against the blanket ban on cruising, says the chairman of Carnival UK.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has advised against cruise ship travel since mid-March but David Dingle is calling on the government to let the industry show that it is safe.

Speaking at the Virtual Clia Forum on Thursday (October 29), he said: “We’re the only means of transport which is covered by a Foreign Office travel advisory – we’re being treated as destination.

“But if you treat [cruising] as a destination, give us a travel corridor.

“If you’re treating us as a means of transport, treat us like any other means of transport. There are some very powerful arguments here.

“Because of the bubble that a cruise ship provides, and the fact that it is so highly regulated in every possible way, frankly, at the moment, it’s the safest form of travel you would have.

“We just want to get on and be able to demonstrate that.”

He recognised that there are rising numbers of Covid-19 infections across Europe but said the UK government could better support the travel industry – particularly with more testing “to get rid of this highly debilitating quarantine”.

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A framework for cruises to re-start has been endorsed by the Department for Transport but the next critical step is the lifting of the travel advisory by the FCDO, he said.

“It hasn’t been helped by the rising scale of the second wave in the UK and that’s common to almost the whole of Europe,” he said.

“We’re having to apply a certain amount of political persuasion to get to the stage where either that is straightaway lifted, or that we can agree the external conditions necessary for it to be lifted.

“Intrinsically, we firmly believe that the cruise industry can manage Covid.

“We’re bringing all the appropriate pressure that we can, working very, very hard among politicians, within Parliament, within government to persuade the Foreign Office that now is the time to get moving and to get this advisory lifted.”