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The good news: European river cruising is ramping back up. The bad news: U.S. citizens cannot currently fly there to join any sailings.
The sincere hope is that there will be a return to normalcy onboard and onshore once Americans are permitted to travel abroad again. Until then, however, more lines are revealing their health and safety plans for operation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following announcements from Avalon Waterways and Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, AmaWaterways and Riviera River Cruises are the latest to demonstrate their health and safety protocols.
AmaWaterwaysAmaWaterways is the first U.S.-based river cruise line to resume operations in Europe, regionally carrying only German charter guests in the meantime.
The company’s enhanced safety measures begin with pre-boarding health questionnaires and daily temperature checks for both guests and trained crew, all overseen by a designated public health officer.
To facilitate physical distancing, passenger capacity has also been reduced from 150 to 100 guests onboard. Staff must always wear face coverings, but guests are only required to wear them while moving around the riverboat. Dining venues and lounges are naturally more spacious than before, but additional room service as well as plexiglass dividers provide even more peace of mind.
Additionally, AmaWaterways’ ships sport fan coil individual air cooling and heating units to avoid any interior recirculation in staterooms or public venues, and most cabins also showcase outdoor balconies.
Riviera River CruisesRiviera is similarly preparing for a safe return to sailing. Operated by Scylla and assisted by Ian Greaves — a member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in the U.K. — its riverboats will be held to very high standards, as well.
At boarding, guests will receive a mandatory health screening while crew members clean their luggage. Daily touch-free temperature checks will be required. Regarding masks, guests may need to wear them when moving about on the ship and while on excursions. Crew will also be required to wear face coverings as necessary.
Elsewhere onboard, hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the ships, and all dining and bar drinks will be fully served. Restaurant seating will require reservations. Plus, physical distancing will be upheld on the ship and while touring according to locally regulated group sizes and guide-to-guest ratios.
Between each voyage, all cabins and public spaces will be deep cleaned and ventilated. Venues and touch points will be disinfected throughout the day, and restaurants will be cleaned between meals.