P&O Cruises has confirmed that guests sailing on its series of short UK cruises this summer will need proof of Covid-19 vaccination to board.

The itineraries, on Britannia and new ship Iona, will depart from Southampton between June and September, sailing around the UK coast. Iona will anchor off its namesake island on a new seven-night maiden voyage.

The line said that “given the advanced progress of the UK vaccination programme and strong expressed preference on the part of our guests”, sailings will be for UK resident Covid-19-vaccinated passengers only.

P&O said its definition of vaccinated is a minimum of seven days following the second dose of a vaccine. Guests who are unable to provide the necessary documentation – details of which will be confirmed at a later date – will be denied boarding.

The line also confirmed that travel insurance will be mandatory for all guests.

Britannia will offer three and four-night breaks and one six-night holiday running from 27 June through to 19 September. Prices start from £449pp for a three-night cruise.

Iona will sail seven-night itineraries from 7 August to 18 September, with prices for its maiden sailing starting from £1,199pp. Cruises go on sale on 22 March.

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.

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

“As the start of Iona’s very special maiden season, the new Ultimate Escape series of holidays includes a memorable seven-night maiden voyage sailing around the Scottish islands.

Iona will anchor off Iona, the island after which she was named, with a celebratory extended stay until sunset for magical views of the historic shores.

“As we have spent the majority of the last year at home, to be able to have a restorative and relaxing break, sit on deck with a sea view in the summer sunshine and then enjoy an indulgent dinner and show – it’s certainly what we all need this year and we cannot wait to have our guests back on board.”