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When May River Cruise Lines Resume Service? [final edition]


Host Jazzbeau
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When May River Cruise Lines Resume Service?

Note:  I have removed my chart of potential river cruise line resumptions because continuing outbreaks in Europe have reversed the trend toward restarting and all reopening plans now seem like wild guesses.  Therefore I don't want to imply any knowledge on my part...

 

Please feel free to keep updating this thread with news and opinions.

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We are scheduled for Tauck Danube Christmas Market cruise in late November. From our travel agent, they have not cancelled their River Cruises yet but Tauck has cancelled all of their land tours for the rest of the year. Don't know why they are waiting to cancel the Christmas Market cruises. Our final payment is due in 12 days and we will be cancelling if they don't cancel first.

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  • 2 weeks later...

@thptrek , My friendly advice is to wait until the very last minute to cancel. We went through a similar analysis in Feb/March for our March 24, 2020 Viking Cruise. We decided based on information available that the risk was too great, so when Viking offered a 100% voucher for cancelled cruises we accepted what I felt was a generous offer. I thought if everyone insisted on a cash refund it could force the company into bankruptcy. After I accepted their 100% voucher offer - the very next day - Viking announced a 125% voucher offer on cancelled trips!  

 

Now we are booked on the same cruise for April 2021, and I am wondering what the chances are..... 

Edited by mnjack
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1 hour ago, mnjack said:

@thptrek , My friendly advice is to wait until the very last minute to cancel. We went through a similar analysis in Feb/March for our March 24, 2020 Viking Cruise. We decided based on information available that the risk was too great, so when Viking offered a 100% voucher for cancelled cruises we accepted what I felt was a generous offer. I thought if everyone insisted on a cash refund it could force the company into bankruptcy. After I accepted their 100% voucher offer - the very next day - Viking announced a 125% voucher offer on cancelled trips!  

 

Now we are booked on the same cruise for April 2021, and I am wondering what the chances are..... 

 

If it makes you feel better, I think I read that when cruise lines cancel for the second time [as would be the case if you had waited for the 125% and used it to book this trip] they don't give another bonus to the FCC.  So if you get 125% from this one, you'll be in the same position you would have been.

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Tauck just cancelled our November Danube cruise. They are providing a full refund of the money we paid as a deposit. They are also giving us a credit for the cost of the trip insurance policy to be used for a future booking. This seems like a reasonable settlement and we are satisfied.

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VivaCruises has of course started sailing again, just like other European cruise lines. But the situation is increasingly getting worse, so the companies change plans at short notice. Here is an article in German on VivaCruises by a Swiss website: https://www.travelnews.ch/cruise/17220-mit-viva-cruises-unterwegs-auf-innerdeutschen-routen.html

 

In short: they sail mostly Germany-only itineraries - short ones - and re-route if necessary. It seems that there are cruisers who are just happy to be able to travel at all and accept the flexibility that is necessary. Incentive by VivaCruises: full payment only due 20 days prior to departure.

 

Since the article was published, more Christmas markets have been cancelled and the situation has got worse - even in Germany. So, will they be able to keep the offered itineraries on the Treasures , Viva Tiara and Robert Burns going at all? I would not be willing to book anything at all at this point.

 

notamermaid

 

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Decided to move our  2020 Riviera Enchanting Rhine Yuletime markets cruise until 2021. Very easy to do and at the moment Riviera still has all their itineraries for 2020 still listed. Not sure when they will decide to “ pull the plug”. However they were very easy to work with and no pressure to pay in full or any price increase.

Hoping my dealings with Lufthansa will be equally pleasant. 

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Good question. Germany does allow UK people to enter, but you need a negative test or only to have stayed in the UK for a short time (completely useless that rule if you live in the UK) and potentially quarantine. The gov.uk relevant website gives info and links to other countries' websites:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae

 

The situation is monitored daily by the German authorities and updates to the risk zone list by Germany are very frequent. So by end of November the UK could be off the list again. But there is always the risk that the UK will take Germany off the (safe) travel corridor list (which would mean we are a risk zone). Of course you can still travel between the two countries then, but have to self-isolate for 14 days in the UK on return.

 

I do not have high hopes for the sailings in November. Even if they go ahead I am not sure what being in the port stops will be like, seeing that many Christmas markets have already been cancelled. But I have no inside information, that is just my personal opinion based on the situation in my country.

 

notamermaid

 

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Well, it was nice while it lasted...

 

A-Rosa (and other German cruise lines) has reacted to the new restrictions in Germany. Rhine and Danube river cruises have been officially suspended in November. You can read the statement on the website: https://www.arosa-*****/river-cruises/company/current-travel-information.html

 

TUI is supposed to start on 26 November on the Rhine, but the regulations that last until 30 November put that first itinerary in jeopardy.

 

notamermaid

 

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Should be so. I checked and the online operator that sells the cruises no longer has the specific itinerary of the Amastella on the Rhine that they had advertised on the website a couple of weeks ago. The Amastella took over from the Amakristina, which had sailed the Summer and early Autumn itineraries. The festive cruises of the Amastella in December are still available on the website.

 

notamermaid

 

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Note:  I have removed the chart of potential river cruise line resumptions in post #1 because continuing outbreaks in Europe have reversed the trend toward restarting and all reopening plans now seem like wild guesses.  Therefore I don't want to imply any knowledge on my part...

 

Please feel free to keep updating this thread with news and opinions.

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30 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Note:  I have removed the chart of potential river cruise line resumptions in post #1 because continuing outbreaks in Europe have reversed the trend toward restarting and all reopening plans now seem like wild guesses.  Therefore I don't want to imply any knowledge on my part...

 

Please feel free to keep updating this thread with news and opinions.

Thank you for the work you did.  

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@Host Jazzbeau Thank you for the work you have done.

 

@cruisr To confirm and expand: according to cruisetricks.de, see: https://www.cruisetricks.de/deutschland-lockdown-und-die-kreuzfahrt-was-wir-bislang-wissen/

, AmaWaterways will resume the "German" cruises on 16 December, i.e. those will be festive cruises for Christmas and New Year mainly. Makes sense as there are hardly any Christmas markets left to visit.

 

Not sure how river cruising is working in Austria for example. There are bookings still possible from Passau into Austria, this means you do not spend the night in Germany in a hotel, etc. Loophole or not, I do not expect this to stay an option for much longer.

 

notamermaid

 

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16 minutes ago, notamermaid said:

@Host Jazzbeau Thank you for the work you have done.

 

@cruisr To confirm and expand: according to cruisetricks.de, see: https://www.cruisetricks.de/deutschland-lockdown-und-die-kreuzfahrt-was-wir-bislang-wissen/

, AmaWaterways will resume the "German" cruises on 16 December, i.e. those will be festive cruises for Christmas and New Year mainly. Makes sense as there are hardly any Christmas markets left to visit.

 

Not sure how river cruising is working in Austria for example. There are bookings still possible from Passau into Austria, this means you do not spend the night in Germany in a hotel, etc. Loophole or not, I do not expect this to stay an option for much longer.

 

notamermaid

 

Thank you @notamermaid  I always enjoy your posts and you keeping everybody updated on what is happening in your part of the world, which just happens to be one of my favorite parts of the world.

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Thank you, @cruisr

Shortly after I had posted about Austria and river cruising, I read the news about the lock down in that country from Tuesday. They follow suit to Germany and will close down much of the hospitality sector, which will in effect rule out river cruising. Like in Germany, hotels are allowed to accommodate guests travelling on business. But Austria will be stricter - they will also have a curfew.

 

Measures are to last initially till end of November, like with us.

 

I do wonder what TUI will do, the first itinerary will not work if I have interpreted the calendar dates and measures correctly. And who knows if the lock down in England will have been lifted by then.

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Breaking news...

 

... bad news that is, but not surprising. Germany has extended the light lockdown measures which includes a ban on overnight stays. This could mean that no Advent river cruises will run. Details would need to be obtained from the individual river cruise lines - a source tells me that there may be exceptions made. Restrictions are planned to be eased over Christmas itself. Again, if river cruise lines consider running those cruises starting on 21 December or later, will be something to ask them directly.

 

notamermaid

 

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So sad.  It was a glimmer of hope for river cruisers and of course they provided much needed income to both Amawaterways and the tour operator.

 

Today is Black Friday in the US and I am stunned at the pictures I am seeing or tons of people in stores and no social distance.  The pictures at airports on Wednesday were even worse.  I think it will get worse before it gets better.

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cruisr,

I am afraid to say that I share your expectations for the weeks to come. We here (the ones that follow American news) look with concern to the travel habits over Thanksgiving.

 

Not sure if anyone is sailing or will sail in December in Europe. The season looks concluded, but there is the chance of having the Christmas/New Year's Eve cruises happening for the German/European market. But will many people actually sail with all the quarantine to be organized? Will they dare meeting other people? Who knows... Perhaps more companies will wrap things up early.

 

Nile and Asian cruises by German operators are bookable.

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 1 month later...

It has been six weeks since the last post and not a happy six weeks at that. Things have further gone downhill, also in Europe in the river cruising regions. We know of cancellations for tulip cruises and quite frankly I cannot see many of those happening this Spring.

 

Looking back to December, there was an interview with Rudi Schreiner of AmaWaterways in seatradecruisenews, this is what he said: https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/europe/late-spring-more-likely-summer-americans-travel-europes-rivers

 

Return to river cruising in Spring for Europeans, was his hope, in December I would have agreed. With the new variants of Covid-19 causing further problems I am not so sure.

 

I may paint a bleak picture and I hope I am wrong, but I think on the Rhine we will be lucky if we can start the excursion boat season in comfort in April. River cruise ships on the Rhine in March, probably not, seeing that they are essentially hotels. Perhaps the Douro for the Portuguese only? Or a return trip for the Austrian Linz-Vienna? Noone knows...

 

For example, river cruises on the Rhine with German companies in March are of course still bookable, they are hopeful, probably to the last minute, meaning before the government announces further restrictions.

 

notamermaid

 

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