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Coronavirus: Updated Cruise Ship Policies and Cancellations Because of COVID-19 (2021)
Coronavirus: Updated Cruise Ship Policies and Cancellations Because of COVID-19 (2021)
Emerald Radiance (Photo: Emerald Waterways)
Emerald Radiance (Photo: Emerald Waterways)

More River Lines Announce European Restart Dates As American Travel Looks Possible For Summer

Emerald Radiance (Photo: Emerald Waterways)
Emerald Radiance (Photo: Emerald Waterways)

June 04, 2021

Fran Golden

(Updated 5:05 p.m. EDT) -- More river cruise lines have announced summer 2021 restart dates, as the European Union moves toward approving international travel for vaccinated Americans.

Scenic and Emerald Cruises, river lines owned by Australia's Scenic Group, will restart their Europe season with sailings on Portugal's Douro River beginning in late July. Uniworld will be restarting in Italy and France. And AmaWaterways will restart in Portugal on July 3, with more sailings throughout Europe later in the month.

Meanwhile CroisiEurope announced restart dates for river and canal cruises on a number of European rivers, starting with Portugal's Douro River on June 7, and followed by the Gironde and the Seine on June 30, in France.

Since this article was published in late May, Avalon Waterways and Tauck have also announced their own European restarts. Avalon will resume service with select departures on France's Seine, with departures on the Rhine, Danube, Rhône & Moselle Rivers to follow.

Luxury tour operator Tauck will return to the rivers in August, with its new MS Andorinha setting sail on Portugal's Douro. Tauck will also resume operations on the Seine and Rhone at that time. No firm date has been set, however, for the company's river cruises to return to the Rhine and Danube.

Scenic Azure
Scenic Azure

On Scenic and Emerald, all guests must be fully vaccinated and the cruises are open only to U.S .and UK residents, the company said. The lines are popular with residents of Australia and Canada as well, but currently those countries are restricting international travel.

Scenic Azure will begin operating 11-day sailings on the Douro on July 30. Emerald Radiance will restart its eight-day itineraries on the river on July 31. Both ships will sail from Porto, Portugal, through November.

Scenic Group said its ship would operate under protocols established by a dedicated Health & Safety Steering Committee, and that the company had also been working with the Cruise Lines International Association and Portuguese authorities on health guidelines.

Joie de Vivre
Joie de Vivre

Uniworld will restart with four ships, beginning in Italy with one of its most recent "Super Ship" transformations, S.S. La Venezia. The first trip, slated for June 18, 2021, will begin with two days in Milan before guests transfer to Venice to board the ship.

River cruises in France will come next, wtih departures on S.S. Bon Voyage in Bordeaux on June 27, S.S. Joie de Vivre in Paris and Normandy on July 4 and S.S. Catherine in Burgundy and Provence on July 11th.

Uniworld is not requiring a vaccine to sail, the line said. "Vaccination/testing requirements for guests will be dependent on country," a spokesperson said. "The Uniworld team will help facilitate any required tests needed for guests to return back to their home country."

Passengers who want to travel to France or Italy still might have to get vaccinated. While the two countries have not released their travel protocols yet, the measure put forth by the European Union focused on allowing travel for vaccinated tourists.

(Photo: AmaWaterways)
TA AmaDouro

AmaWaterways, which had a limited sailing in 2020 with charters from a German travel company, has the most ambitious restart plan for July of the river companies.

AmaDouro will start in Portugal on July 3, joined by AmaVida on July 27. The line's double-width ship, AmaMagna, will begin sailing on the Danube River on July 21. On July 22, AmaKristina will start sailing in France on the Rhone River, while AmaLyra will begin cruising the Seine River on that same day. AmaDolce starts sailing in Bordeaux, France on July 29. Finally, the line's newest ship AmaSiena is set to resume on the Rhine River on July 29.

On May 27, AmaWaterways released even more restart dates. The following ships will sail on the Danube: AmaLea (Aug. 16), AmaCerto (Aug. 21), AmaBella (Aug. 22), AmaVerde (Sept. 5), AmaViola (Sept. 6) and AmaSonata (Sept. 11). The Rhine ships include AmaMora (Aug. 5), AmaSerena and AmaLucia (Aug. 14) and AmaPrima (Aug. 24). All ships will start at 75 percent capacity.

"We are so excited to see the situation in Europe evolving in a positive direction and are very optimistic about the new tourist entry requirements that will be officially announced in the coming days," said Kristin Karst, AmaWaterways' Executive Vice President and Co-Founder, in a release.

"On a personal note, being born in Germany, I could not be happier about the announcement that Europe will be opened this summer to safely welcome back tourists to assist with the much needed economic and social recovery.”

AmaWaterways does not have a vaccine requirement for passengers. Said President and Co-Founder Rudi Schreiner: “As we proceed with our return to the rivers, we will continue to monitor the updates from global health authorities, local governments and airlines with regards to the entry requirements. In the coming days, we will be providing more information regarding the specific documentation needed for sailing with us.

"Having successfully operated river cruises during summer 2020, our teams are experienced with enhanced health and safety protocols and are ready and eager to safely welcome guests back on board. Our team is committed to ensuring our guests have a wonderful experience as they return to the rivers, visiting the world’s most beautiful destinations.”

CroisiEurope's other river cruise restart dates are the Rhine on July 2, the Rhone on July 3, the Elbe, Oder, Havel and the Baltic and the Danube on July 8; Spain's Guadalquivir August 19 and Italy's Po on August 25. The line will not mandate vaccinations, but does insist on a negative PCR test for all passengers or proof of vaccination.

The announcements from AmaWaterways, Scenic, Emerald and Uniworld come after Viking put out July restart dates on a few of its summer itineraries in Portugal, France and countries along the Rhine River.

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