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The ever increasing popularity of river cruising


notamermaid
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@gnome12

I remember us discussing the itinerary in detail some time ago. Such a pity you do not get to go, but I suppose there is solace in the fact that for next year you will get the itinerary you had preferred anyway. Eltz castle should be easy to reach, perhaps with train and a taxi ride up the hill.

 

@pinotlover

In Paris, daytime outdoor exercise is now banned as well. Sadly, July looks less and less likely for normal tourist life in France. And we know air travel is, well, another matter that also does not look too promising to be back to normal any time soon. Hope I am wrong, back judging from my governments comments, the path back to normal life will be long and taken in short stages.

 

notamermaid

 

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On 4/7/2020 at 10:14 AM, pinotlover said:

We still have a mid July France River Cruise booked. Any guesses on whether it will go with Uniworld?

Hello pinotlover,

 

We had a June 2020 "Grand France" booked with Uniworld.  Our TA and Uniworld rebooked it for May/June 202.  However, at that time we are up against two issues of concern: (1) we will both be in out late 70s and bumping up against CLIA's current guidance for cruisers, and (2) concern over viability of cruise lines, especially small ones like Uniworld.  I anticipate a slow restart as ships will require refurbishing, and crew retrained if not new crew hired.  The "Grand France" cruise is two-weeks and involves two ships, and likely be one of the last to be resurrected.  The good news is that American Airlines was quick (two weeks) to refund our full airfare.  My take is that river cruising, especially in very hard hit France, will not be viable until at least winter and hopefully open for the Holiday Markets season.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Excellence Empress will be delayed due to the Coronavirus restrictions

 

The ship is being built in the Netherlands for a Swiss operator, but restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic mean that fewer workers can be on the shipyard. Her deployment has been postponed by a month. Article in German: https://binnenschifffahrt-online.de/2020/04/schiffstechnik/14158/corona-verzoegert-ablieferung-der-excellence-empress/

 

Makes we wonder what has happened to all the other planned ships and christenings? I know that the Avalon View has not been christened and jazzbeau has posted that TUI have postponed the launch of their operations till November, but I have not followed any other developments.

 

notamermaid

 

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4 hours ago, notamermaid said:

I know that the Avalon View has not been christened and jazzbeau has posted that TUI have postponed the launch of their operations till November, but I have not followed any other developments.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

We hope to be on the View next May, if all goes well.  I was willing to go on it as it would have had a year to work out the bugs.  I'm starting to wonder if we will be on the maiden voyage. 😉

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Despite the current situation, faith into a return to (near) normal river cruising seems unabated, at least according to AmaWaterways in this article. Strong demand has seen them open booking for 2022 sailings early: https://www.travelweek.ca/news/demand-is-up-for-2022-amawaterways-opens-bookings-early/

 

People driven away from ocean cruising to the smaller vessels on the rivers? People switching from 2020 to 2022? A mix of reasons I should think.

 

notamermaid

 

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10 hours ago, notamermaid said:

Despite the current situation, faith into a return to (near) normal river cruising seems unabated, at least according to AmaWaterways in this article. Strong demand has seen them open booking for 2022 sailings early: https://www.travelweek.ca/news/demand-is-up-for-2022-amawaterways-opens-bookings-early/

 

People driven away from ocean cruising to the smaller vessels on the rivers? People switching from 2020 to 2022? A mix of reasons I should think.

 

notamermaid

 

If river cruises get tons of bookings from ocean cruisers who want to avoid being on a ship with thousands,  the problem is this:

 

A few times a year these boards see the complaints of a dissatisfied ocean cruiser who didn't do his/her homework, and was disappointed by the lack of big-ship amenities on a river cruise.  If true we could see LOTS more of that kind of complaint here.

 

Those who want the multiple dining room options, 24 hr food availability, casinos. climbing walls, multiple pools, big stage shows, etc, would be bored by the laid-back style of a river cruise.  Still remember the guy who did no research, then complained loudly on CC about not being able to get a shrimp cocktail and a (porterhouse, T-bone? don't remember)-steak every night.

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1 hour ago, sharkster77 said:

If river cruises get tons of bookings from ocean cruisers who want to avoid being on a ship with thousands,  the problem is this:

 

A few times a year these boards see the complaints of a dissatisfied ocean cruiser who didn't do his/her homework, and was disappointed by the lack of big-ship amenities on a river cruise.  If true we could see LOTS more of that kind of complaint here.

 

Those who want the multiple dining room options, 24 hr food availability, casinos. climbing walls, multiple pools, big stage shows, etc, would be bored by the laid-back style of a river cruise.  Still remember the guy who did no research, then complained loudly on CC about not being able to get a shrimp cocktail and a (porterhouse, T-bone? don't remember)-steak every night.

I sail both. I am not seeing anyone on the (ocean) cruise boards where people are saying they will probably switch to river. I mentioned it and no one commented. Most think river cruises are for old people 🙂 Probably 20 years ago they thought this about ocean cruises.

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There is a significant price difference between the most common ocean cruises [e.g. the mega-resort ships] and even the least expensive river cruises.  Most ocean cruisers who think about switching will have sticker shock.  Those ocean cruisers who are used to these prices are already on ships of this size or slightly larger.

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  • 1 month later...

Let us have a look at what a company that has recently made unusual worldwide headlines in the industry will offer next year - NickoCruises. They have published their 2021 catalogue (German press release): https://www.touristik-aktuell.de/nachrichten/kreuzfahrten/news/datum/2020/07/03/nicko-cruises-neue-flussreisen-fuer-2021/ 

 

New itineraries and a couple of new rivers. A new ship on the Douro. Looks good. What I very much like is the itinerary from Nancy to Saarbrücken. Very few ships sail further on the Moselle than Remich. Currently I only know of the Excellence Pearl and the MS Avalon. The latter is more a canal barge, calling her a river cruise ship while kind of correct is stretching the term a bit. This is the cruise route of the MS Casanova (German website only): https://www.nicko-cruises.de/expose/auf-mosel-und-saar/ 

 

Other cruises are available also on the English website.

 

notamermaid

 

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32 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

Let us have a look at what a company that has recently made unusual worldwide headlines in the industry will offer next year - NickoCruises. They have published their 2021 catalogue (German press release): https://www.touristik-aktuell.de/nachrichten/kreuzfahrten/news/datum/2020/07/03/nicko-cruises-neue-flussreisen-fuer-2021/ 

 

New itineraries and a couple of new rivers. A new ship on the Douro. Looks good. What I very much like is the itinerary from Nancy to Saarbrücken. Very few ships sail further on the Moselle than Remich. Currently I only know of the Excellence Pearl and the MS Avalon. The latter is more a canal barge, calling her a river cruise ship while kind of correct is stretching the term a bit. This is the cruise route of the MS Casanova (German website only): https://www.nicko-cruises.de/expose/auf-mosel-und-saar/ 

 

Other cruises are available also on the English website.

 

notamermaid

 

I clicked on the link and the page was automatically translated to English!  Looks like an interesting trip and very inexpensive compared to other lines.

 

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26 minutes ago, KathyK13 said:

I clicked on the link and the page was automatically translated to English!  Looks like an interesting trip and very inexpensive compared to other lines.

 

Ah yes, your settings on your device will do that, had not thought of it. I get this with languages other German.

 

Part of the reason the cruises look so reasonable is that it is a basic package. You buy drinks on top of it and excursions as well. The excursions tend to be reasonably priced I find (from what I know from my own cruise and looking at websites over the years). If one does not expect luxury but a well developped river cruising product NickoCruises can be an option.

 

Talking of prices. I have mentioned on another thread that an online website has struck a deal with AmaWaterways. That German online seller in its marketing text for the cruise actually says that the cruise ship is used by Americans and now here is the opportunity "for Germans to sail on the luxury ship for less money than the Americans would pay". A little cheeky... but I suppose correct.

 

notamermaid

 

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If you're an English speaker, beware of Nicko. We took a Nicko cruise last year (Saarbrucken to Stuttgart). We liked the idea of cruising the Neckar, and the cruise was advertised as being one that accommodated English speakers as well as German speakers. We spoke with Nikko before and after making our reservations and were assured that announcements would be in English as well as German and that tours for English speakers would be included. When we arrived on the ship, we kept hearing announcements only in German. When I went to speak to the CD, he informed me that it was German speaking cruise only. He had no idea that English speakers would be on the ship. There were NO English speaking tours.

 

It turned out that there were 4 Finns along with my wife and myself who didn't speak German. The CD did his best to accommodate us. He would huddle with us to inform us of the day's activities and make brief English explanations of important announcements. He also printed out English scripts of his commentary to describe the countryside we passed during daytime sailings. Nicko has assigned seating for all meals, and my wife and I were assigned a table for two for the cruise, so we really didn't meet anyone. We had hoped to sit with the Finns, but apparently some Germans who wanted to improve their English were seated with them. Some of the passengers took pity on us and tried to make small talk in English, but overall Nicko failed to deliver what they'd promised.

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@FuelScience

I remember your trip review well of course. And I was a little annoyed with NickoCruises not having delivered the product as I think they should have. After all, I pointed you towards NickoCruises.

 

Your link does not lead to the cruise itinerary page anymore, but here is the one for 2020: https://www.nicko-cruises.de/en/river-cruises/#river=30

 

@KathyK13When one looks at the German lines for booking a cruise it is important to check if they have a minimum number of guests required for offering English language excursions if the cruise is not all-inclusive. With my cruise it worked really well, had bilingual tour guides or the groups were split. All communication on board was bilingual. They even had daily news from Scandinavia printed out at the reception desk. There were between 10 and 16 foreigners (not sure of the correct number, did not count) from Scandinavia and Russia on my trip. The next cruise after mine had even been part-chartered by a large British group. I was not aware of limitations on the bilingual cruises until FuelScience reported on his experience. A-Rosa does mention it on the website somewhere that a minimum is required.

 

My ship, the MS Belvedere then with Transcoean, has since changed operators and is now sailing for - wait for it - NickoCruises! https://www.nicko-cruises.de/flotte/schiff/ms-belvedere/

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

 

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I wonder if Nicko has backed off on their attempt to attract English speaking guests. I looked through several cruises on their site, and when I looked at available dates for the cruises, I didn't see any that indicated that English speakers would be accommodated (last year, a Union Jack would appear next to dates where English speakers would be welcome.

 

Despite our disappointment, Nicko's aggressive pricing is a strong attraction. The MS Casanova is an older "boutique" ship, but the service and food were very good.

FuelScience 

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Funny that I looked on the site yesterday and my German is not good I can only just about work out what it says but I noticed a very faint Union Flag bedside the German Flag, clicked on it and got the English version, going on the site just now and it automatically opened in English. CA

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On 4/27/2020 at 2:45 PM, notamermaid said:

The Excellence Empress will be delayed due to the Coronavirus restrictions

 

...snip...

 

I spotted the Excellence Empress on the river a few days ago. She is ready and will very soon sail on her first itinerary on the Danube. If you are interested, here is a German language article from Switzerland: https://www.travelnews.ch/cruise/16446-die-excellence-empress-das-neue-umweltschiff.html

 

The Excellence Empress has a few innovations as regards caring for the environment. Unfortunately, she has to forgo a proper christening for the time being. Safe travels to her always.

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

And another ship has been christened, this one for Lüftner in a proper ceremony in Amsterdam. Meet the Amadeus Imperial: https://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/Amadeus-Imperial-christened

She is the 15th ship in the Amadeus fleet.

 

She has been built in the Netherlands and in this short article in Dutch is a video of her launch, looks a bit like being thrown into water! https://www.112hoogezand.nl/2019/12/14/tewaterlating-van-de-amadeus-imperial-riviercruiseschip-bij-de-hoop-in-foxhol/

Save travels to her always.

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cruise to nowhere...

 

With river cruising growing in popularity there are now many more ships on the river than there were let us say ten years ago. What to do with all of them? The crew? The loss of revenue? You are not going to get that many Europeans onto the rivers although demand is growing as people are staying closer to home and away from ocean ships - some ocean cruisers at least. Not everyone has time, money and the peace of mind to be on a ship with strangers for five days or longer.

 

Here is an idea: use them as hotels - cruising nowhere. This is not a new idea, but the new company Viva Riverside is using some ships this Summer especially for the purpose, i.e. three ships that would normally be cruising up and down the rivers. Here is the website: https://www.viva-riverside.city/en/hotelschiffe/

 

All three towns are smaller in size and not much, or hardly ever in the case of Traben-Trarbach, a stop on a "normal" cruise.

 

notamermaid

 

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7 hours ago, notamermaid said:

 

 

Here is an idea: use them as hotels - cruising nowhere. This is not a new idea, but the new company Viva Riverside is using some ships this Summer especially for the purpose, i.e. three ships that would normally be cruising up and down the rivers. Here is the website: https://www.viva-riverside.city/en/hotelschiffe/

 

I have seen ocean ships used as hotels for things such as the Olympics, etc....

 

About 30 years ago, I lived near Atlantic City, NJ. This was before I had ever cruised. There was what looked like a cruise ship docked on the pier but once you went inside, it was a shopping mall. I thought it was a real (retired) cruise ship but apparently it was not. It was built to look like a cruise ship on the outside. It was called Ocean One Mall.

 

You can scrolls through some pics here: https://pressofatlanticcity.com/gallery/revisit-the-ocean-one-mall-in-our-photo-gallery/collection_5ffb712e-37ea-11e6-b203-b7de9a770861.html  Too bad they are in black and white.

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Egypt has been doing it since 2011. Moored river boats going nowhere, killing all possible hotel businesses. Dock an old river boat, charge 50 E per night, and wait for the huge sucking sound ashore! Fabulous plan! I’m sure Viking has some longboats they’d love to see revenue from.

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Egypt, yes, perhaps the effect is felt. A different country, a different continent. For Traben-Trarbach I would say it more fills a niche. It is only one ship after all. But I do hope that Viking does not pick up the idea. All 20plus ships docked along a short section of the Rhine would have an impact on smaller communities. If they offered overnight stays in the harbour area of Cologne - well, I think they would not get much trade, being next to petrol storage tank and heat/electricity power plant :classic_wink:: https://www.nuernbergluftbild.de/en/luftbilder/2645-hafen-koeln-niehl

 

Back to (new) ships that will be moving next year, some that were planned for next year anyway and some that had originally been planned for this year: https://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/Insights/Sailings-sidelined-but-not-growth-plans?ct=river

 

notamermaid

 

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Viva Cruises have been busy getting a programme for 2021 together and renovating a ship. The Swiss Diamond will join the fleet next year (article in German): https://binnenschifffahrt-online.de/2020/08/schifffahrt/16070/viva-cruises-baut-kreuzfahrtangebot-aus/

 

New in the Moselle itineraries is the port of Traben-Trarbach. Nice addition, I find.

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another "new" port, this one I would put in the thread "Rhine - Beyond the standard ports" if it was on the Rhine. By chance I came across new itineraries with Münster being the embarkation port "for the first time" according to the operator. Münster is a port on a few routes crossing the North of Germany, from Berlin to Amsterdam with CroisiEurope for example. Münster? Where is Münster if it is not on the Rhine? And a port big enough for logistics for embarkation? I must admit I had to look this up. Imagine sailing on the Rhine downstream, well you sort of turn right, yes, that works. At Duisburg-Ruhrort you enter the Rhein Herne Canal and then follow the Dortmund Ems Canal North till you get to Münster. Münster has an industrial harbour and that is where the river cruise ships dock. From Münster you could continue North and then turn right into the Mittellandkanal which takes you East all the way to the Elbe and if you so wish to Berlin (via several canals and rivers, shortened narrative for this post). Hence one of the itineraries offered goes to Berlin. I cannot post the operator/TA, but here is a story from the local broadcaster on the safe return of the first round trip from Münster. With video of the ship Swiss Ruby entering the harbour. Those canals in the North of Germany are sailed by smaller ships, so you will not be able to book an itinerary on a 135m ship. But the Swiss Ruby is not exactly "small and compact" as you can see: https://www.antennemuenster.de/artikel/ms-swiss-ruby-von-erster-kreuzfahrt-zurueck-in-muenster-653904.html

 

A beautifully designed ship from Scylla she is, in my humble opinion. Normally she is chartered long term by Riviera Travel and deployed on the Seine. When they transported her over to the Rhine I do not know.

 

So what about Münster? I have not been there yet, but I know many people would recommend it. Münster does have a small river, the "Aa", has a mix of old, reconstructed old and much modern architecture, is famous for its role in the "Peace of Westphalia" and as the self-proclaimed "city of bicycles". The thing that Münster does not have is hills (helps with the cycling!) as it is already in the plains of Northwestern Germany called the Westphalian Lowlands.

 

English-language cruises? Well, few and far between right now. CroisiEurope I have mentioned. And nickocruises offers an itinerary in 2021 which might or might not be bilingual. This year has certainly changed the narrative as regards river cruising for the German market with more ships used that are normally restricted or nearly restricted for use on English-speaking markets and ever more diverse itineraries. Münster is certainly profiting from this. And North Americans on the Dortmund Ems Canal? Oh well, there is always a first... A company just needs to make it happen.

 

notamermaid

 

 

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We are, that’s us Brits, are very lackadaisical about learning different languages. Shopping in Paris  I once asked for something in a department store, using at least four different languages the store clerk was not impressed, well it was Paris. I find the further south in France I go the more forgiving they are. Most languages I can translate if spoken slowly, yeh yeh yeh who in Europe speaks slowly? Queuing for the Tower of London a few years ago a poor French girl walked along asking at speed for (excuse the spelling) la maison dela Rena by making her slow down I realised where she and her friends wanted to go and as she wanted got a taxi for her party, sorry the Queen was in Scotland. I do admire everyone who can converse in language other than their native then we wouldn’t need so many different cruises. Roll on the control of COVID-19. CA

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