Where does the “green list” leave cruise vacations?


Last month, the cruise’s “pause” button was finally released with the ships cleared to weigh anchor once again.

The first departures have been trips across the UK, with more than 15 cruise lines announcing national waters cruises this summer. While the FCDO has not given the green light to sea cruises beyond the UK – against the advice of the government’s Global Travel Taskforce – the Green List has, like the much contested Orange List, provided an element of choice.

Now cruisers can travel to Green List approved destinations without having to quarantine on return. Admittedly, there is unlikely to be a rush of travelers heading to the isolated South Sandwich Islands or Tristan da Cunha. But the inclusion of Portugal and Gibraltar gave a vote of confidence to two mainstays of the cruise. Iceland is another winning addition, as is Denmark’s Faroe Islands. A fair wind is starting to blow and while it may be too early to move forward, the recovery is picking up speed.

Below, our experts reveal what the Green List for cruises means and how to make the most of what’s on a limited list so far this summer. All dates are from July – in hopes that the CTF opinion will soon change to reflect government recommendations.


Open up the port and blow up the cigars, for such a celebration is a truly fitting way to mark Portugal’s return to the holiday landscape for British cruisers. With river cruises exempt from FCDO advice, crossings along the Douro River seek to be the best option for those who simply can’t wait to get back on board.

This exotic backwater – which crosses the heart of the Douro Valley; its steep slopes carved with vines bearing the fruit of its famous drink – were already considered one of the rising stars of the world of river cruising. Unlike the busier waterways in Europe, the appeal of the “Golden River” lies in the sleepy vibe of this secluded landscape. Sleepy villages cling to dramatic slopes and hillside quintas, nestled in chiseled terraces, are perfect vantage points for enjoying magnificent views while savoring the region’s silky port wines.

Portugal is also an established destination for ocean cruises; its Atlantic coastline attracting ships visiting the Iberian Peninsula or making the voyage between the United Kingdom and the Mediterranean. Lisbon appears regularly on cruise itineraries, with its sweeping boulevards and graceful squares hinting at its former 15th-century personality as the world’s most successful commercial center.

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