River Cruising Will Recover First

Uncertainty. It’s weird. And it’s the hardest thing to take in all of this CoVid mess. It’s wreaked havoc in all of our lives – and it has certainly disrupted and shelved our travel plans.

Perhaps you’re like many of my clients? Folks are asking me questions. Like: When will I be able to travel again? Will travel be safe? How will insurance work? When will we get a vaccine? All of these questions are at the forefront of everyone’s minds. And, no, I don’t have all the answers yet. None of us do. The situation is changing and emerging, daily sometimes. The best I can do is continue to share information as it develops.

We’re all wondering what to do, and when to book (or re-book), and when we can travel again.  Like you, the vast majority of my clients now have a pent up demand to travel. We all just want to do it safely, and cautiously. See https://www.lushlife.ca/time-to-travel-travel-restrictions/

Insurance companies, like Manulife, have had rules change and expand, sometimes daily. But there do appear to be some promising developments in the near future. We’re hearing some whispers about them covering CoVid once a country’s risk threat is downgraded. There’ll be more to come on that in future weeks, as announcements are made, and terms and conditions set. With regard to a vaccine, there also appears to be promising news developing. We all wait with baited breath. And while that may take a while to play out, especially to have a vaccine that is easily replicated and available, any news is good news on that front.

With Europe not accepting Americans for the time being, that will still affect Canadians’ travel – even though Canadians are allowed in. River cruising likely won’t start in a big way until the US is allowed back in too.

However, AMA Waterways river cruise company has just started to cruise again in Europe with a German tour operator at the beginning of July. AMA will be leading the way with their test cruises now learning lessons for when they can open to the North American market. And they, and other river cruise companies, will be at the forefront to us all starting to travel again.

River cruising ships are small intimate experiences with an average of 150 guests – they are a totally different product and experience than what you might have on an ocean cruises with 6000+ guests. River cruises also have to follow the health and safety rules of each country they sail through – ocean cruises that have different regulations in international waters.

The biggest difference in perspective of course – ocean cruises take you to a country, and river cruises take you through them. As we all start to travel again, we’ll want to go through countries.

River cruising really did social distancing before social distancing was cool!  And – they will come back to original strength and beyond! River cruising will indeed recover first.

And AMA Waterways is leading the recovery. AMA started cruising again in Europe on July 3rd. They’ve started with a German tour operator, and have sailed 3 cruises already. AMA has done away with self-serve buffets, and have put up plexi-glass in public areas (and they’ll require masks to be worn in public areas where you can’t socially distance). They have hand-sanitizer and gloves. When ships raft together (as is common with European river cruising), another cruise line’s guests can no longer go through an AMA ship. Plus there are temperature checks for guests and crew, with smaller numbers. See more info in his article notes here .

And as noted in this other article here: 

Although cruise lines have suspended operations into the thick of summer due to the novel coronavirus, the river cruise industry is staying afloat as demand picks up for the near future.

DEMAND FOR SMALL-SHIP, RIVER CRUISES SURGES AMID CORONAVIRUS

“What makes river cruising appealing to travelers is the minimal packing, maximized leisure and vacation time that you get compared to any other means of transportation,” Rudi Schreiner, co-founder and president of river cruise line AmaWaterways, told FOX Business. “On a river cruise ship, you go to bed at night to wake up in the morning in the next city.”

AmaWaterways has seen double the bookings for 2021 river cruises compared with this year, marking a banner year for river cruise suppliers. AmaWaterways river cruises include a choice of up to 20 small-group shore excursions within the confines of a small-group setting, typically around 100 to 150 people per cruise.

According to the AmaWaterways’ co-owner and senior vice president of sales, Gary Murphy, the company saw its best month ever for future bookings in June.

Even though ocean cruising season has been wiped out as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, river cruising has reaped a newfound interest for travelers looking for safer alternatives.

The river cruise industry is seeing double the amount of bookings for the year to come.

River cruising will recover first. River cruising is great for couples and solo travelers – you can be as active as you choose. And there are river cruises that specialize in wine themes, or family cruising, or golf-themed, or more….

Won’t you want to be part of the recovery?

sheila@lushlife.ca