Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has pushed back its start date for new ship Borealis in response to the latest government lockdown restrictions.

Borealis will still be the first of the line’s fleet to set sail, with her maiden voyage, to Iceland, now due to depart Liverpool on May 22 rather than April 23.

The former Holland America Line ship was initially due to enter service on April 23.

Fellow 1,400-passenger vessel Bolette will be the second vessel in the fleet to set sail, departing from Dover on May 29, followed by Balmoral from Edinburgh (Rosyth) on June 9.

Braemar will remain laid-up until 2022 due to its extensive fly-cruise programme.

Passengers booked on a cancelled cruise will be notified of the changes and be provided with a number of options including a ‘no quibble refund’.

Managing director Peter Deer said: “When we announced our new ‘back in service’ plans in December, we had every confidence in these new dates based on the information available to us at the time.

“Since then, we have seen a third national lockdown imposed, and this must be taken into consideration for our plans in returning to service.

“Deferring Borealis’ return allows us a little more time to consider and understand the developments around Covid-19, including the roll-out of the vaccine, and how this will reflect how we operate.”

Deer explained that the decision was taken ahead of final balances being due on cruises set to depart in April and early May.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming our guests back on board with us in 2021, and I would like to stress that we will not do so until we are confident that the time is right,” he added.

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