A CRUISE line firm, which has docked a huge ship in the Port of Tyne, has confirmed it will ban all holidaymakers who have not yet received the Covid vaccine.

P&O Cruises has today confirmed only UK residents who have received both doses of the Covid jab at least seven days in advance will be allowed onboard.

It is understood to be among the first travel operators in the world to be enforcing such requests as passengers will be denied boarding unless they have proof.

The firm, which has had the Azura ship docked up in the region since January, said the requirement was a "strong expressed preference on the part of our guests."

The Northern Echo: Picture: GEORGEG1989Picture: GEORGEG1989

They are part of a long list of measures introduced due to the pandemic which include requiring passengers to wear masks in certain areas of the ship, and making travel insurance mandatory.

There will also be enhanced cleaning regimes and social distancing, while buffet food will be served by staff.

SEE MORE: Watch as this HUGE cruise ship which can carry 4,350 people arrives in the North-East

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Given recent announcements we have every hope that our guests will be able to enjoy a holiday this summer.

“After the stresses and challenges of the past year everyone certainly deserves a treat and this series of cruises will provide memorable and much-needed UK getaways.

“Whilst there is still uncertainty about holidays abroad this summer, we are delighted to be able to offer our guests the ultimate escape here in the UK with the reassurance that we will take care of everything.

The Northern Echo: The Azura inside as it remains docked in the North-East The Azura inside as it remains docked in the North-East

SEE MORE: Inside the HUGE cruise ship that has docked in the North-East 

“Also, we really will look at the weather forecast each cruise and aim to take our ships where it is warm and sunny.”

Cruise holidays are traditionally popular with older people, who have been prioritised in the UK’s vaccination programme.

Saga Cruises has previously announced it will require all guests to be vaccinated when it resumes operations in June.

P&O Cruises will operate a series of short breaks on Britannia, while new ship Iona will conduct seven-night itineraries.

Cruises will depart from Southampton between June and September, sailing around the UK’s coastline in search of good weather.

The itineraries do not include stops at any ports, apart from one Britannia sailing which will visit Liverpool.

For her maiden voyage, Iona will anchor off the small Scottish island after which she was named, until sunset.

The Government has advised people to avoid all cruises since July 9, 2020, due to the virus crisis.

The Government’s Global Travel Taskforce will provide a report to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on April 12 setting out recommendations for how and when foreign holidays could resume.

They could be permitted for people in England from May 17 under the Prime Minister’s road map for easing restrictions.

Turkey announced on Monday that it expects to welcome UK holidaymakers this summer without requiring proof of a coronavirus vaccine or negative test.

Greece will require international tourists to have been vaccinated, had a recent negative Covid-19 test or have coronavirus antibodies, while visitors to Cyprus must have had both doses of a vaccine.