Americans are still barred from Europe, and Canadians are technically permitted into Europe but still under their own government restrictions against leisure travel and required to quarantine 14 days upon their return to the country.
So it’s hard to imagine that one of North America’s favorite river cruise lines has begun sailing the rivers of Europe again.
As of July, AmaWaterways is pioneering the re-opening of European river cruise operations, with a series of charters of AmaKristina in Germany for local guests.
AmaWaterways’ return to the rivers comes with new, enhanced health and safety protocols developed from EU, CDC, World Health Organization, and cruising authorities’s guidelines.
The line’s new health and safety measures are designed to protect both guests and crew, while maintaining the warmth of guests’ onboard experience that past AmaWaterways guests know and love.
The new and current measures include:
· pre-boarding health questionnaires;
· daily temperature checks for guests and crew;
· in-depth, updated crew training;
· designated Public Health Officer on each AmaWaterways ship overseeing the new protocols;
· reduced capacity – AmaWaterways ships with all 150 guests on board were already spacious, but now only 100 guests will be on board;
· masks required for crew at all times and for guests while moving around the ship; and
· adaptations like plexiglass dividers accommodate social distancing in lounges and public spaces.
Some of AmaWaterways’ river ships and cruising experiences already facilitate COVID protocols, like:
· space in the ships’ Main restaurant and included specialty restaurant The Chef’s Table already accommodate new safe distances for all 100 guests;
· personal portable Quietvox commentary systems allow guests to hear guides while social distancing during the included small-group shore excursions (many involve hiking and biking tours that are already outdoors and naturally allow for safe distancing);
· ships were already equipped with individual air cooling and heating units, eliminating recirculation of air in staterooms or in public areas;
· nearly all staterooms include fresh air balconies, for private outdoor relaxation, and
· Sun Decks covering nearly the entire top of the ship give guests open air space as well as stunning views along the river.
And signature elements that guests love about their AmaWaterways river cruises are still there to enjoy, like:
· modern, tasteful ship design and the warmth of a family-owned company;
· innovative stateroom design featuring unique ‘twin balconies’;
· wellness activities, including
· included shore excursions featuring biking and hiking options for the active traveler;
· award-winning dining—including The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant as well as
· complimentary fine wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner;
· onboard amenities such as hair and massage salons and a fitness room, and
· many have heated outdoor swimming pools with swim-up bars;
· themed sailings and sailings geared towards active travelers and families as well as group and charter options.
It’s just a start for AmaWaterways: one ship in one country for local guests – for now. It’s a symbolic moment. It’s a new beginning, and proves that guests can return to enjoying unforgettable river cruise vacations under new health and safety protocols.
It’s also an indicator of how river cruising will continue to re-open as travel restrictions evolve: with charters and single-country itineraries for groups of bubble travelers, expanding step by step to include more ships, more countries on individual itineraries, with a wider range of guests traveling together.
It’s the first step towards the full re-deployment of all of AmaWaterways’ 25 ships sailing Europe’s Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Main, Rhône, Saône (in 2021), Seine, Garonne, Dordogne, Dutch and Belgian Waterways and Douro Rivers, Asia’s Mekong and Africa’s Chobe and Nile Rivers (also in 2021).
Images courtesy AmaWaterways.
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