Post updated: 21/02/2019

Although there is ongoing political uncertainty regarding Brexit, one thing is for sure – life goes on. And with that, we continue to make plans, book holidays and go travelling.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019, either with a deal in which little will actually change, or without, which leaves much for us to question.

To help those looking to book a sailing in the future, here are a few frequently asked questions regarding Brexit. Simply click the questions to reveal the answers.

With much uncertainty surrounding Brexit, it has left cruisers wondering where is safer to sail to. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has advised that regardless of the outcome, there is no reason to be concerned when booking a holiday. A spokesperson for the organisation said:

“There’s nothing to suggest holidays won’t go ahead as planned next year. We’re heading into the travel industry’s sales period, when some of the best deals and discounts are available, so we want people to carry on booking as normal. European holiday destinations want to continue to welcome UK holidaymakers; it’s a very big market for them.”

According to ABTA, “the European Commission has said that even in a no-deal scenario, UK travellers won’t need a visa.”

However, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, British people will need to apply for an additional document to travel to member states. The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will cost €7/£6.30 and be valid for three year – though it won’t come into effect until 2021. Until then, cruisers can continue as normal when visiting the EU.

Under the Brexit deal put forward by Theresa May, EU citizens and UK nationals can continue to travel freely with a passport or identity card until the end of the transition period in 2020. Then, the European Commission has offered visa-free travel for UK nationals coming to the EU for a short stay, provided the UK offers the same in return.

Read more about the ETIAS

In the event of a deal, passports will continue to be valid for anywhere within the EU until the expiry date. However, for a no-deal Brexit, new rules will come into play.

British passport holders will then be considered as third country nationals, and those planning to travel abroad will be required to have six months left on their passport and UK residents wanting to travel on the 30 March and beyond, must have a passport issued on or after 1 October 2009.

It’s worth checking your passport to ensure you have at least six months left on your passport from the date of arrival. This applies to both adult and child passports. In the event you need to renew your passport, up to nine extra months may be added to your passport’s expiry date. These new rules apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.

In light of this, the government is advising customers to visit the HM Passport Office online passport checker here: Check a passport for travel to Europe.

The Passport Office says:

“After 29 March 2019:

1. You should have 6 months left on your UK passport from your date of arrival. This applies to adult and child passports.

2. If you renewed a passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe. The new rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.

“Currently, UK passport holders can travel to all EU countries as long as they have enough remaining validity to cover the length of their stay, so it’s important to be aware of the above changes in a ‘no deal’ Brexit.”

Read the Home Office’s Guidance on travelling following a no Brexit deal

If Brexit continues with no deal, European Health Insurance cards (EHIC) will no longer be valid.

If you have already taken out insurance for a cruise departing after March, it is advised that you check your documents to ensure you are fully covered no matter the outcome.

This is especially true for visits to the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein to check your policy covers you and your family under any possible disruptions.

Within the EU, there is currently a system in place where you aren’t charged for extra roaming, allowing tourists to use their mobiles for calls, texts and data as you would in the UK.

However, with a no deal this cannot be guaranteed. The government has advised it would put measures in place for a cap on the cost of mobile data usage abroad at around £45 per month – it’s currently €50 under EU law.

If there is a no deal, your licence may not be valid as a standalone document. In order to drive, or even simply hire a vehicle abroad, you may need to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP) which costs £5.50.

Following a no-deal Brexit, certain airlines will lose their automatic rights to operate air services between the UK and EU, without seeking advance permissions. This includes EU airlines operating within the UK (such as Heathrow to Edinburg flights), and UK airlines operating intra-EU services (such as Milan to Paris).

After 29 March, and in the event of a no-deal Brexit, UK and EU airlines would need to seek additional permissions from respective states in order to operate. The government has advised that the UK would envisage granting these permissions to EU airlines and that it would not be in the interest of any EU country or the UK to restrict destination choices which could be served.

Read the full article from the government guidance on flights and Brexit

What do the cruise lines have to say about Brexit?

Many of the cruise lines have spoken out about the possibilities of Brexit to the cruising community, in most cases promising little change for their sailings and prices following March.

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises released a promise to customers to help remind passengers why they should book with them:

  • Pay in pounds: One thing you won’t have to worry about is avoiding potential currency fluctuations! You can explore Europe without the Euros and you will also have the opportunity to pay in advance for a big range of shore excursions.
  • 5% discount offer: Booking ahead is a feeling of pure relaxation and excitement, and it couldn’t be easier with such a low deposit. Get organised while saving your funds.
  • Sail from Southampton: Cruising from the UK is the way forward and P&O have a whole lot of options if this suits you! There are hundreds of holidays sailing direct from the UK with the line so your break will have the most relaxing start you’ve ever had.
  • More for your money: So much is included as standard for P&O guests. It starts with meals and entertainment and even stretches to flights and taxes! Even less to worry about than you thought.
  • Financial protection: This includes both ABTA and ATOL! Nobody wants to head out on their cruise with worries in the back of their head.

The cruise line’s president Paul Ludlow said:

“We want to reassure our guests that whatever is happening in the world of politics, their holiday and peace of mind is of the utmost important to us.

“Our Brexit promise is that no matter what the future brings, our guests can rest assured when booking a P&O Cruises holiday as they will always pay in pounds sterling in advance and can take advantage of a low deposit to secure their holiday.”

P&O Cruises - Ventura


Cunard’s Marketing Director, Angus Struthers sent an email to passengers at the time of the vote back in June 2018, which read:

“Following the result of the EU Referendum vote, I wanted to take a few moments of your time to reassure you that there are no resulting changes to any aspect of your upcoming holiday with Cunard, including check-in and immigration. These all remain the same as they were before last week’s vote.

“Should there be any changes resulting from the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, we will naturally contact you with all and any related information. For now it remains business as usual for us and we are looking forward to welcoming you on board.”

Cunard - Solo traveller on a Cunard ship

Cruise & Maritime Voyages

Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Head of Marketing Mike Hall said:

“Our onboard currency is sterling, shielding our guests from exchange issues. Following the EU referendum result, bookings have remained buoyant.”

Fred. Olsen

Though Fred. Olsen has not released a statement relating directly to Brexit, the cruise line has pushed the following message:

“In terms of our cruise holidays, we would stress that we do follow exchange rates. The only point that we make to our guests, as we did four to five years ago, is that we have sterling prices on board, so when the exchange rate is against us, it does not have the same impact as taking a holiday in Spain, for example, or those cruise lines that price in dollars on board.”

Be protected with is both ABTA and ATOL protected, so when you book with, you will be fully protected by most outcomes following Brexit.

Woman and child walking along the beach in the sunset

Booking an all-inclusive cruise is also more beneficial as the prices are fixed and feature little to no unexpected bills. Cruising from the UK is also an ideal option as this removes the need for flights, meaning additional stresses that may come with airports are redacted.

If you would like to discuss your cruise preferences and what you’re looking for in a future cruise, call our Cruise Concierge team on 0808 1234 118 for expert advice on travelling both within and outside of the EU.

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Emma Smith
Emma has more than six years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for over a year. She loves learning of new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in diary for 2020! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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