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Is There an Upper Age Limit for River Cruising?


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I have been following the threads on cancelling or rebooking a River cruise because of Corona Virus. Some people have mentioned that they will not rebook because of their age. They seem to indicate that they will be over 70+. Is this a personal choice not to travel or is there some age limit that a government or cruise line has put into effect?

I am  over 70 and when the cruise boats are sailing and the planes are flying I plan on being there.

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I have not heard of any age limit on cruising [except the brief CLIA 70+ doctor's note requirement that was rescinded].  In fact, as DW and I progress into our 70s we except to be able to continue river cruising even after other forms of travel become impossible.  The only caveat is that the very historical charm that attracts us to Europe means that many tourist sites are far from ADA-compliant.  If you are in a wheelchair, your river cruise experience will be very much constrained compared to what you could do on an ocean ship.  [Not a total loss, but you need to do your research to see what you would miss.]  But if your knees are still good, river cruising is not age-limited at all.

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What will eventually keep me from European river cruises will probably be the whole flying experience rather than the cruise itself.

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11 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

The only caveat is that the very historical charm that attracts us to Europe means that many tourist sites are far from ADA-compliant.  If you are in a wheelchair, your river cruise experience will be very much constrained compared to what you could do on an ocean ship.  [Not a total loss, but you need to do your research to see what you would miss.]  But if your knees are still good, river cruising is not age-limited at all.

Exactly!

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If river cruise companies (or ocean cruise companies, for that matter) didn't allow passengers 70+, they would lose a significant part of their customer base.  

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We are currently 78 and 84 and were booked for a river cruise in late June.  We've done several European ocean cruises and 8  European river cruises.  We had no trouble keeping up with tours, but we will probably not book outside the US again because of our worries that the coronavirus will continue to put us at greater risk for the next couple of years.  Getting ill with a contagious disease in a foreign country is no longer an option for us in spite of our having had good travel medical insurance in the past.    We are considering an American river or Great Lakes cruise for 2022, but we will wait and schedule close to the departure date.  I believe that the discussions regarding those over 70 is related more to the higher risk of COVID complications in that age group than the activity required on the trip.   

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We are in our late 60's, and relatively healthy. I had always thought that when we could not keep up with our normal level of activity, we would graciously "retire" from cruising. However, the current unexpected moratorium from travel has me reconsidering. While I wouldn't want to hold back the pace of other travelers, I can envision still wanting to go on trips even if we would not be able to participate at the same level that we used to do. We are just missing out on valuable travel time right now, and don't know when we will get to go again. There are still so many places I want to see, or see again, that even if I have to walk slower or avoid some steps and miss some sights, I can see perhaps a "new normal".

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4 hours ago, frenchhorn said:

We are considering an American river or Great Lakes cruise for 2022, but we will wait and schedule close to the departure date.  I believe that the discussions regarding those over 70 is related more to the higher risk of COVID complications in that age group than the activity required on the trip.   

 

I'm saving the US and Canada river cruises for when overseas flights become too much of an ordeal (my flight to Bucharest in 2017 almost did me in but I recovered).  Agree with you about the age thing having more to do with the virus issue than activity level.  

 

4 hours ago, lackcreativity said:

We are just missing out on valuable travel time right now, and don't know when we will get to go again. 

 

I hear you.  I feel the same way.  A friend of mine told me travel and tourism won't resume until 2022.  I can't accept that.  My 50th HS reunion was postponed until next year.  Unfortunately, in the space of another year, we will probably lose another classmate(s), or some may find they're physically unable to attend next year due to a condition or disability that's cropped up unexpectedly.  

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Last summer we took a Crystal cruise on the Rhine and Moselle.  On our cruise there was a wonderful 93 year old gentleman who seemed to enjoy the whole experience.  It was wonderful to see the ship's staff cater to him, from bringing him his requested selections at breakfast and lunch buffets, to walking (slowly) with him and his walker one-on-one during some of our excursions.

So pre-Corona virus, the river cruises we've been on (Uniworld and Crystal) have all helped to make sure that passengers of all ages have an enjoyable experience. Not sure how it will be on future cruises.

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if you are ambulatory and can generally walk easily for a 2 hour tour, the river cruises are excellent choice.  If you have to rest "often", you can still go but not be part of the organized tour.  alternatively, some river cruises may have panoramic bus tours that would work - look at the excursion chart

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A big consideration is the gangway, which can often be at a steep angle, and having to raft to other ships which may require going up and down stairs to get on and off your ship.

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On 5/18/2020 at 7:36 PM, coevan said:

the 70 year old fiasco started with the Caribbean cruise industry, it was shot down soon after it was brought up. No doctor would sign any such document. 

 

Which doesn't imply that river cruising and ocean cruising are going to be safe for all once things restart.  The rescinding of the "policy" by CLIA was NOT for health considerations.

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Knowledge about the virus is still changing every day.  Now CDC says you don't have to worry about getting infected from surfaces:

https://www.foxnews.com/health/cdc-now-says-coronavirus-does-not-spread-easily-via-contaminated-surfaces

 

In a few months, hopefully more will be known and protocols can be streamlined to cover only those things that actually make a difference.

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I was intrigued when I saw the news about the COVID-19 virus and surfaces.  It was alleged that on the Diamond Princess there was evidence it lived for up to 17 days, but that seemed a bit far fetched to me.  

 

Once this all gets sorted out and we're dealing with facts and not hearsay or conjecture, it may be a different ball game. 

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2 hours ago, Ride-The-Waves said:

Which doesn't imply that river cruising and ocean cruising are going to be safe

 

 

I never implied cruises would be safe.

Edited by coevan
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23 hours ago, Roz said:

I was intrigued when I saw the news about the COVID-19 virus and surfaces.  It was alleged that on the Diamond Princess there was evidence it lived for up to 17 days, but that seemed a bit far fetched to me.  

 

Once this all gets sorted out and we're dealing with facts and not hearsay or conjecture, it may be a different ball game. 

I believe that the RNA (viral DNA) was still found 17 days later.  But I don't recall that they said it was infectious at that time.  Only that there was evidence that the virus had been there.

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One of the things I've wondered about regarding age and the COVID-19 virus is the correlation between age and underlying conditions.  Does age by and of itself present a pronounced risk (as far as dying from the virus), or is it that the older we are, the more likely we may have high BP, heart disease, diabetes, etc.?

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31 minutes ago, Roz said:

Does age by and of itself present a pronounced risk (as far as dying from the virus), or is it that the older we are, the more likely we may have high BP, heart disease, diabetes, etc.?

 

Yes, one of those is correct. 😉 It's an age-old question that we can't really answer.

 

I have no idea. And since the definition of hypertension changes depending on what guideline you read, heart disease is a very large and varied category of conditions ranging from benign to severe, and all three conditions have significant gradations of severity...good luck sorting this out into an accurate answer.

 

For example, a patient with mild hypertension controlled on medications would probably have lower risk than someone with severe hypertension who doesn't take meds. Is is reasonable to label both as "high risk" because technically, both have hypertension? That flaw permeates most statistical models which try to predict risk.

 

Unless we can crunch the numbers on a huge database of patients, with enough details to account for the severity of the underlying conditions, we won't know for sure. But that analysis might be difficult to perform accurately, given that a fair portion of patients never develop symptoms, so don't know that they had the disease. They might be excluded from the analysis. And even then, you'd have to consider that this sort of analysis only yields an odds ratio, which can be misleading.

 

Example: say the average mortality is 0.5%. If you have conditions which give you 3x the odds of dying, your mortality is still only 1.5%. At what point would that risk become so high that you'd avoid cruising? I suspect everyone's answer would be different. "Three times the risk!" sounds more scary than "1.5%" I think.

 

I suspect that both age, and underlying medical conditions, likely raise the risk of mortality. That's just like with any form of illness causing respiratory failure and/or the cytokine storm which accompanies bad sepsis. We call it the "china doll" syndrome. A healthy geriatric patient looks very good, until something bad happens and they land in ICU. Once the china shatters, it's very hard to glue it back together again.

 

(note: lowercase c in china; not the country, not a political statement).

Edited by jpalbny
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  • 3 weeks later...

The whole issue of the pandemic as well as other medical issues that have come up for my husband make the whole idea of another river cruise in the 'iffy' column for us at least until next year - if ever. Even at that point, with DH in his 70s and with pre-existing conditions, it will be interesting to see whether such a trip would even be insurable. I imagine the travel insurance industry is seriously reconsidering their rates and conditions for insurance.

 

(I do have to add, though, that Allianz has been terrific, providing refunds for two big trips we had planned to Europe for this spring and fall.)

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