AmaWaterways Outlines River Cruise Restart Dates Throughout Europe

AmaWaterways revealed additional details about its return to river cruising in Europe during a “fireside chat” with travel advisors and media on May 26.

Here is the current plan to resume operations, with ships initially at a maximum of 75 percent capacity.

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Portugal

July 3: AmaDouro

July 27: AmaVida

France

July 22: AmaLyra on the Seine River

July 22: AmaKristina on the Rhône River

July 29: AmaDolce through Bordeaux, France

Danube

July 21: AmaMagna

Aug. 16: AmaLea

Aug. 21: AmaCerto

Aug. 22: AmaBella

Sept. 5: AmaVerde

Sept. 6: AmaViola

Sept. 11: AmaSonata

Rhine

July 29: AmaSiena

Aug. 5: AmaMora

Aug. 14: AmaLucia

Aug. 14: AmaSerena

Aug 24: AmaPrima on the Rhine and Moselle rivers

“I am very, very, very excited that we are finally restarting,” said Rudi Schreiner, co-founder and president of AmaWaterways. “My prediction back in January and the end of last year was that sometime in the summertime we hoped that we will start. Things are progressing much faster than we expected.”

Schreiner answered questions from travel advisors during the virtual meeting along with Co-Owner and Executive Vice President Kristin Karst, Co-Owner and Senior Vice President of Sales Jimmy Murphy, and Vice President of Sales Alex Pinelo.

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Reopening from COVID-19

Schreiner said the company “highly recommends” that travelers get COVID-19 vaccinations, but said it is uncertain whether they will be required to board a river ship.

“The European Union will put out guidance rules very soon,” he said, noting that discussions are to allow vaccinated U.S. travelers in, but that the form of vaccination proof has not been pinned down yet.

Prior to boarding, an online health and contact screening questionnaire will be required. And at embarkation, guests’ temperatures will be taken with no-contact infrared thermometers.

Schreiner said the company cannot guarantee at this time that crews will be fully vaccinated, because it depends on EU protocols, which, in some cases, dictate which age groups are eligible for vaccines. Crew members must have a certified medical clearance certificate plus undergo pre-boarding COVID-19 testing. They also are kept in isolation for a period before embarking. In addition, they will undergo twice-daily temperature checks.

“We do expect that within the next couple of weeks things will progress very fast, but at this point we cannot guarantee” a fully vaccinated crew, Schreiner said.

He added that if a negative COVID-19 test is still required to re-enter the U.S., “everything will be put in place.”

The AmaWaterways executives addressed other questions regarding COVID-19 protocols at the restart.

Masks

“They are still a requirement when moving around onboard the ships, through the hallways and when you’re not sitting down and eating,” Schreiner said. “This might also change.”

Murphy said he sailed on a charter cruise last summer and had a “delightful” experience, with some guests remarking they were required to wear their masks for just 10 to 15 minutes a day.

Shore excursions

“Guests will be able to go on their own and visit the town,” Schreiner said. “People will be very free to move around.”
He added that there might be restrictions on indoor sightseeing in museums and the like, depending on local protocols, which also could change. “Things are changing so rapidly, and we’re still five, six, seven weeks ahead from the start,” he said.

He also noted that AmaWaterways cruises are noted for having bikes for guest use, scheduled hikes and fitness classes on the sun deck, so guests can enjoy outdoor activities.

There may be some changes, but for the most part, pre- and post-cruise land packages will still operate, Schreiner said. Karst added that the AmaMagna’s golf program also will operate.

Biking and Hiking Along the Danube | Save up to $1,500 per stateroom
Biking and hiking along the Danube. (photo via AmaWaterways)

Buffets

“No more buffets, everything will be served. The menu choices will almost double from what you found in the buffet,” Schreiner said. “I’m very, very excited about our whole new approach, and I think guests will love it.”

Although seating was assigned on the charter sailings, seating will be open on regular cruises when restarting, although that will depend on EU or individual country requirements.

There will be larger tables, in addition to tables for two, he said.

Christmas Markets

The popular Christmas markets cruises will likely take place in November and December, Murphy said. “I have very strong confidence that they will operate,” he said. “We expect the markets to operate as they have historically, but there may be more distance between booths this year.”

Other Destinations

The new 72-guest AmaDahlia is on schedule to start sailing the Nile River in September. “Demand has been tremendous for the Nile,” Karst said. “We are selling right now into 2023.”

The 11-night Egypt package includes three pre-cruise nights in Cairo, a seven-night Nile River cruise and one more night in Cairo.

Also in Africa, Chobe River cruises on the Zambezi Queen will resume Aug. 2. Schreiner said Kenya visits on some land packages will be replaced with Tanzania.

As for Mekong cruises in Southeast Asia, “we don’t know exactly when Vietnam will open up. Vietnam has been closed completely,” Schreiner said.

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Couple on AmaWaterways river cruise. (photo via AmaWaterways)

Flexibility

Murphy noted that the line’s “Ultimate Cruise Flexibility” program has been extended through June 30, 2021. The promotion lets guests change their sailing date up to 48 hours before the start of their trip. They can then reschedule with no change fees to any river cruise sailing through 2023.

In addition, “Travel Waiver Plus” protects additional services purchased through AmaWaterways, including flights, land programs and extra hotel nights. It can be added for $175 per person through June 30, 2021. It covers cancellation for any reason, up to 24 hours before the start of the purchased services, including the river cruise.

Also, travel advisors can sail free on select Europe sailings when accompanied by three new FIT bookings on the same sailing. This must be reserved by June 30, 2021.

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